NEW DELHI: Auctions for Doordarshan’s direct-to-home DD Direct Plus are expected to commence by the end of this month, and the e-auctioneer will be finalised in the next few days.
Thirty-eight applicants have already paid the reserve price of Rs 15 million for the 20 slots presently vacant on the platform which has a capacity of 59.
Information and Broadcasting Ministry Joint Secretary Arvind Kumar told indiantelevision.com that the e-auction is expected to continue till December when the capacity of the platform will go up to 200.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that e-auction specialists like MMTC, Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd (TCIL), mjunction services ltd (50:50 JV between SAIL and Tata Steel) and the State Trading Corporation among others have applied to conduct the e-auction.
DD Direct Plus is the only free-to-air platform and has a viewership base of eight to nine million. Ministry sources said only Indian entities would be allowed to bid in the first phase, as no final decision has been taken on the foreign broadcasters.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that Doordarshan is also considering auctioning slots on DD One in an effort to get back on its national channel renowned production houses from Bollywood, and improve the quality of programmes during prime time.
Ministry sources added that bidders would be able to sell commercial spots directly for the free commercial time and thus recover their investments.
Initially, only five prime-time slots are expected to be e-auctioned. DD expects to earn Rs 4 billion from this process within the current financial year.
However, this process was expected to begin only by September and may go on for three months.