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Pak DTH: Mag, Shahzad & Star Time to start ops in a year

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MUMBAI: Three direct-to-home (DTH) licences in Pakistan were on Wednesday awarded for a total of PKR 14.694 billion (USD 140 million) by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) as confirmed by its Twitter handle.

The auction started after Pakistan's apex court permitted PEMRA to go ahead with the bidding although the Lahore HC had issued a stay on the process.

The highest bid was raised by Mag Entertainment for PKR 4.91 billion, respectively followed by M/s. Shahzad Sky for PKR 4.90 billion and M/s. Star Time for Rs 4.89 billion, Pakistani newspapers reported. PEMRA issued non-exclusive licences for 15 years to the three companies. The licencees will have to start operations within a year or risk termination.

PEMRA chairman Absar Alam said the DTH service would not end the cable operators’ business, but would compel them to invest in technology and distribution systems.

Pakistani DTH services would counter the sale of illegal Indian DTH services in Pakistan, which leads to annual transfer of between US$ 200 million to US$ 350 million to India on account of subscription fee. The DTH services will now give Pakistani consumers a choice against the existing monopoly of cable operators.

Terming DTH a game-changer, Alam said, it was the biggest investment in Pakistan’s electronic media history. As per estimates and feasibility studies carried out by PEMRA experts, the overall investment, Alam said without explaining, would be US$ 450 million ($ 150 million each) and could reach an additional US$ 750 million in the next two years, newspaper reports stated. Alam said that those estimates did not include the bidding proceeds.

The DTH service, Alam said, was a state-of-the art technology adding new dimension to the audio-visual content distribution system. The existing analogue system was offering a maximum of 80 channels while the DTH, Alam added, would increase the capacity to around 120 and each local DTH licence holder was expected to have at least 500,000 subscribers.

Similarly, landing rights will be permitted to foreign channels to come under the local regime, and new local satellite channels will be approved.

Also read:

http://www.indiantelevision.com/dth/dth-operator/pak-dth-licence-bidding-stayed-161123

http://www.indiantelevision.com/dth/dth-operator/pak-to-award-three-dth-licences-on-23-nov-chinese-uae-companies-in-fray-161119

http://www.indiantelevision.com/dth/dth-services/pemra-announces-dth-licence-bidders-indian-dth-eviction-to-continue-161116

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