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Star Bharat to be available on DD FreeDish as b’caster’s fourth FTA offering

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MUMBAI: Going FTA seems to be the flavor of the season. Star India’s Hindi general entertainment channel Life OK, which will be soon rebranded as Star Bharat, is now slated to be available on DD FreeDish.  

Recently, one of India’s largest broadcasting company Star India had won additional slots on pubcaster’s FTA KU-band service (DD FreeDish) by bidding shades over Rs. 160 million. At present, the three Star channels on the platform are Star Utsav, Star Utsav Movies and Star Sports First.

Prasar Bharati sources admitted to indiantelevision.com that Star India has additional slots on DD FreeDish, but could not give an immediate time frame for any new channel to be made part of the FTA platform. Reason: DD FreeDish is being upgraded with a new technology (MPEG-4) that will help it enhance overall viewer experience as also get more TV channels on board after signal compression.

“We cannot guarantee if the technological upgradation will be complete by the end of this month so as to accommodate more TV channels,” a source in Prasar Bharati said, explaining that the arrival of Star Bharat or any other TV channel on FreeDish could get delayed beyond August.  

Meanwhile, according to industry sources, shows such as ‘May I come in Madam’, ‘Sher-E-Punjab Ranjeet Singh’ and ‘Chandrakanta’ will go off air and shows like ‘Savdhaan India’ and ‘Ghulam’ will continue on Star Bharat. Shows like ‘Kya Haal Mr Paanchaal’, produced by Optimystix, are among the new launches. Life OK earlier carried another named and was originally launched in 2011.

‘Aayushman Bhava’, produced by White Horse Telefilms (a murder mystery) and Zama Habib’s 'Nimki Mukhiyaan', which was supposed to have aired on Star Plus, has now been shifted to soon-to-be launched Star Bharat. It’s a story about a girl who becomes a village chief and changes her entire village.

Star Bharat is also exploring launching a bhajan reality show ‘Om Shanti Om’, produced by Colosceum Media, which will be likely judged by rock star yoga guru-turned-entrepreneur Baba Ramdev, along with Sonakshi Sinha, Kanika Kapoor and Shekhar Ravjiani.

On 17 August 2017, Star Bharat launched its first TVC, #Bhuladedarr. The TVC gives a new definition to ‘overpowering inhibitions’.

BARC data has shown in the past that private sector FTA channels on DD FreeDish, like Zee Anmol and Star Utsav, garner good audience and help in upping the ratings of such TV channels.

Doordarshan’s FreeDish is a multi-channel FTA DTH service, which was  launched in December 2004 with a modest collection of 33 TV channels. Regular upgrades has enhanced capacity and presently platform has the capacity of 80 SD TV channels along with 32 radio channels. The service is a available in KU-band on GSAT-15.

(With additional inputs from BB Nagpal in New Delhi)

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