Technology

DD wants DTH clearance and exclusivity soon

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MUMBAI: Is the ban on direct to home (DTH) Ku-band television broadcasting about to be lifted? Is there hope for those who have been pacing the sideline for close to two years for the government to reverse its decision making DTH illegal? If DD and the Prasar Bharati have their way, it well might.

The Prasar Bharati has applied for a licence to be allowed to start DTH to the information & broadcasting ministry. The DD-holding company‘s board has said that the DTH issue should be resolved favourably soon. It has added that state-owned broadcaster should be given exclusivity over DTH for the next five years. What it means is that no private party should be given a licence to operate a competing DTH service for the next half a decade.

The line that DD is using is that it is better for a government owned body to be allowed to launch DTH rather than a private company because content will be easily monitored with DD in the picture. This apart, DTH could also help it lower its costs in terms of transponder rentals and possibly at some stage earn some subscription revenues too. This will help it cut its losses. DD could also choose a private company as its partner and indications are that C.Sivasankaran is bidding to be that ally.

However, the state-owned telcaster will have to contend with powerful media baron Zee TV's Subhash Chandra who is also getting his DTH gameplan together, and Rupert Murdoch‘s IskyB which has bravely stayed put for the past two years despite a bloodied bottomline. Chandra has insisted that the government set up a broadcasting regulatory body before lifting the DTH ban.

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