Regulators

Delhi HC dismisses 9X Media, B4U Broadband, TV Vision petition challenging DD Free Dish e-auction

The court said that fixing reserve price is Prasar Bharati's commercial discretion.

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2019/02/12/dd.jpg?itok=SPqiF4HB

MUMBAI: The Delhi High Court has dismissed the petition filed by 9X Media, B4U and MASTiii against the DD Free Dish e-auction. Within a few days of the e-auction recommencement notice, the broadcasters approached the court as they felt the base prices are very high for small players.

Senior lawyer Amit Sibal appearing for the petitioner 9XM argued that the music channels were free to air channels and they were not collecting any subscription amount. Hence, those channels could not be classified in the same bucket as general entertainment channels (GECs), and other channels.

The revised guidelines of DD Free Dish auction says that differential pricing for genre (language) will be based on principle of higher reserve price for genre (language) with greater commercial potential. Sibal argued that the guiding norm has not been followed as the music channels have been placed in the same bucket as sports and GECs. He contended that the commercial potential of sports channels is greater than music channels.

Sibal also argued that the commercial potential of music channels was much lower than news channels and yet the reserve price for news channels has been fixed at Rs 7 crore and music channels have been fixed at Rs 10 crore. He also referred to the financial statement of the petitioners to contend that they were loss making while the news channels were making profits.

Earlier 9X Media mentioned in the petition that it is a loss-making entity with losses of Rs 7.81 crore and negative earnings per share and such a decision could adversely impact its business. Rajeev Sharma on behalf of Prasar Bharati pointed out the total revenue of 9XM for the financial year 2018 was around Rs 146.12 crore including Rs 138.71 crore as revenue from operations. He submitted that the reserve price of a slot was a very small fraction of the revenue. Sharma also added that the petitioners were already paying Rs 8 crore and the reserve price was only 25 per cent more than the existing price.

Talking note of the argument, Justice Vibhu Bakhru said that the court does not agree to the argument that the reserve price fixed there under would amount to disabling an entrepreneur from carrying on the business of broadcasting a music channel. He also added that DD Free Dish is not the only platform to air the channels.

Justice Bakhru also asserted that it will not be appropriate to enter into a controversy as to the assessment of the commercial potential of various genres or channels. The court also added that the question of fixing a reserve price is a matter of commercial discretion of the public broadcaster Prasar Bharati.

“Prasar Bharti’s commercial decision to fix the prices is not amenable to judicial review under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, unless it is established that the same is so arbitrary or so unreasonable that no reasonable person could possibly take such a decision,” the judgement also said.

Justice Bakhru also found Sibal’s contention that that petitioners are not challenging the policy but the implementation is unpersuasive as the petitioners are seeking to challenge the fixation of reserve price which itself is a matter of policy.

The new policy guidelines has kept five buckets for e-auction of MPEG2 slots. Bucket A+ has been kept for Hindi GECs and teleshopping channels with a reserve price of Rs 15 crore, and Bucket A has been dedicated to Hindi movie channels with a reserve price of Rs 12 crore.

Hindi music, sports, and Bhojpuri GEC and movie come under Bucket B which has a reserve price of Rs 10 crore. All news & current affairs (Hindi), news & current affairs (English) and news & current affairs (Punjabi) channels fall under the category of Bucket C which with a reserve price of Rs 7 crore. The Bucket D with lowest reserve price of Rs 6 crore will comprise of all other remaining genres/language channels.

Latest Reads

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/12/04/tdsat.jpg?itok=P49K3aLL
Final TDSAT order on Raghav Bahl’s plans to launch Bloomberg Quint expected on 9 Dec

MUMBAI: The final TDSAT order on Horizon Satellite Services’ petition, seeking a name change for its TV license to ‘Bloomberg Quint,’ is expected on December 9. Horizon Satellite Services, that owned licenses of two news and current affairs TV channels, was acquired by Quintillion Business Media...

Regulators TDSAT
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/11/28/digital.jpg?itok=5V6AsqPA
Draft bill proposes to regulate digital news media

MUMBAI: The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) has proposed changes to the archaic, colonial-era Press and Registration of Books (PRB) Act, 1867, which will make it mandatory for digital news sites to register themselves with the Registrar of Newspapers of India in “such manner and...

Regulators I&B Ministry
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/11/28/mib.jpg?itok=RgjFxNaI
MIB grants registration to 139 MSOs in 2019

MUMBAI: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has published a document listing all the registered multi system operators (MSO) in the country. As per the document, there are 1606 registered MSOs in India as on 26 November 2019. Eleven MSOs were granted registration in the month of...

Regulators I&B Ministry
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/11/25/star.jpg?itok=lalfFI0Q
Dish TV pays Star India 2nd instalment towards outstanding arrears

Dish TV has paid the invoice for the month of September to Star India amid the ongoing payment dispute between the leading direct-to-home (DTH) operator and the broadcaster. Along with the current invoice, the second instalment towards the outstanding arrears has been paid as stated in a daily...

Regulators TDSAT
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/11/14/trai.jpg?itok=STz0D3a9
TRAI recommends DTH platform services be capped to 3% of carrying capacity

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has come out with its recommendations on platform services (PS) offered by DTH operators. It suggests capping the total number of permitted PS for a DTH operator to 3 per cent of the total channel carrying capacity of the DTH operator platform and...

Regulators TRAI
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/11/12/TRAI.jpg?itok=9FGDlFWP
TRAI releases consultation paper on Interoperable Set Top Box

MUMBAI: - The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released a consultation paper on interoperable Set Top Box (STB) for digital TV broadcasting services. A consultation paper is now issued with a view to elicit response from all the stakeholders for suggesting the best solution to...

Regulators TRAI
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/11/09/trai-aug19.jpg?itok=THPUtEbb
TRAI releases telecommunication services DAS audit manual

MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Digital Addressable Systems Audit Manual. The new regulatory framework endeavours to provide a level playing field to all the service providers, effective choice to consumers...

Regulators TRAI
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/11/08/inb-new.jpg?itok=QfzFWQrJ
I&B Ministry to meet industry leaders to discuss online video content regulation

Amidst reports of government considering certification/censorship of online video content, the I &B Ministry will hold a second round of consultation next week with industry players, who are determined to oppose any pre-censorship on digital platform. The I&B Ministry has invited all ...

Regulators I&B Ministry
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/10/31/trai.jpg?itok=a3-Omm7J
TRAI releases amended interconnection regulations aimed at fully-compliant audit regime

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Wednesday released the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Interconnection (Addressable Systems) (Amendment) Regulations, 2019. The authority said during the consultation undertaken to prepare the Audit Manual certain comments and...

Regulators TRAI

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories