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Doordarshan to e-auction slots in DTH arm from today

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Public sector broadcaster Prasar Bharati is set to e-auction slots for carriage of channels on its Direct-to-Home (DTH) platform, DD Direct Plus, from Thursday.

A senior official at the ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B) said, “Twenty slots would be auctioned now. In November, another 150 slots would go up for bidding. By the end of this fiscal, we aim to auction 370 slots on the platform.”

The minimum reserve price set for the auction is Rs 1.5 crore. All auctions would be valid for a year. “Doordarshan would generate a minimum of Rs 550 crore in revenue from the auctions. Of this, around Rs 150 crore would go towards meeting operational expenses. The remaining resources would be utilised to create programming content and to expand the reach of DD Direct,” he added.

At present, DD Direct Plus has the capacity to carry 59 channels. Prasar Bharati has set a target to bring on another 350 channels on the platform by the end of the financial year.

The ministry has earmarked an investment of Rs 200 crore in capital expenditure in 2011-12 to build infrastructure. Doordarshan can generate around Rs 400 crore in revenue every year by auctioning slots on DD Direct Plus.

Several small and free-to-air broadcasters have evinced interest in DD Direct Plus to carry their channels because it has a satellite footprint all over the country.

“The minimum reserve price on DD Direct is a third of what is paid for carriage of a single channel to DTH operators by companies. Our reach is among the best in the country. We have already received a positive response from over 35 players to buys slots on DD,” informed a ministry source.

Industry sources indicate DD Direct Plus has a subscriber base of around nine million. The DTH operator’s reach is second largest after Dish TV, which has a gross subscriber base of 10.9 million.

Doordarshan is one of the largest broadcasting organisations in the world in terms of the infrastructure of 66 studios and 1,415 transmitters. The network provides coverage to about 92 per cent of India’s population, spread over 81 per cent of the geographical area.

All the areas covered by terrestrial transmitters, along with the rest of the country, have been provided with multi-channel television coverage through Doordarshan’s free-to-air DTH service, signals of which can be received anywhere in the country with the help of small-sized dish receiving units.

Source: Business Standard

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