Television

DD to hold second e-auction in April for upgraded FreeDish

NEW DELHI: Doordarshan’s free-to-air direct to home platform FreeDish will hold its second auction on 11 April 2017 after its decision to cross the 100-mark from the capacity of 80 channels as on mid-February. 

After final trials of MPEG4 and the success of the 32nd auction last month, the reserve price for the next auction has been raised to Rs 80 million from Rs 48 million per slot. Until last year, the reserve price was Rs 43 million but one channel fetched the bid of Rs 70 million in the auction held on 14 February 2017. Earlier last year, the price for one channel went up to Rs 53 million and gave DD the confidence to raise the price which had been Rs 37 million till 2015 but was raised to Rs 43 million for the 25th e-auction in January 2016.

The e-Auction will be conducted by M/s. C1 India Pvt. Ltd., Noida which also conducted the FM Radio Phase III auctions on behalf of Prasar Bharati.  DD refused to disclose the number of slots being put up for e-auction as officials claim this leads to unhealthy practices.

Doordarshan had in October last year formally announced that Free Dish was capable of carrying 104 television channels and 24 channels would be added to the existing 80 channels after the launch of MPEG4 technology.

DD officials also confirmed to indiantelevision.com that FreeDish will soon be capable of carrying up to 250 channels.

In line with the ‘Digital India’ and ‘Make in India’, DD has implemented Indian CAS (iCAS) on DD Free Dish Platform. iCAS (which is an initiative of the central government) was introduced in the auction held last month. The introduction of iCAS will provide enhanced viewing experience.

DD officials said the existing viewers will continue to get 80 SDTV channels, but will have to obtain iCAS-enabled authorized set-top boxes for accessing all new channels.

Although FreeDish will remain free to air with no monthly or periodic fee, the viewers will be required to register with DD Free Dish on getting the new STB from Doordarshan authorized STB dealers.

FreeDish was launched with a modest bouquet of 33 channels in December 2004, and now carries eighty TV channels and 32 radio channels. This includes 22 Doordarshan channels and two parliamentary channels, seven general entertainment channels, 18 movie channels, 13 news channels, seven music channels, three religious channels and eight channels of other genres. All All India Radio stations also piggy-back on the platform.

The participation amount (EMD) in the e-Auction is Rs.15 million which has to be deposited in advance before or by 12 noon on the date of auction along with processing fee of Rs.10,000 (non-refundable) in favour of PB (BCI) Doordarshan Commercial Service, New Delhi.

Incremental amount for the auction will be Rs one million and the time for every slot e-auction will be of fifteen minutes duration. This may be extended by five minutes if a bid is received before the closing time.

Of the reserve price, Rs 11 million will be deposited within one month of placement and another Rs 11 million within two months along with service tax of 15 per cent on the bid amount. The balance bid amount will be deposited within six months, failing which the deposited amount will be forfeited and the channel discontinued after a 21-day discontinuation notice.

DD officials said implementation of iCAS and authorisation of STB original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) by Doordarshan will give a major thrust to ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’. At present, a majority of STBs are imported. However, the introduction of iCAS will help in standardisation of STBs and encourage quality STB manufacturing in India.

Also read:   

Three new TV channels join DD FreeDish bouquet; 24 get extension

Next FreeDish auction after MPEG4 operationalisation

FreeDish's first e-auction after upgradation in Mar

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