Reports are that Prasar Bharati plans to outsource the operational and technical management of its free-to-air DTH service DD Direct+ to private DTH operators.
SCOPE OF OUTSOURCING
Doordarshan will soon float a Request For Proposal (RFP), inviting eligible private DTH and teleport operators to take over the operational command and control of DD Direct+ for the next 5 years for a fixed monthly fee. Under the proposed arrangement, private operators will manage the entire technical back-end of DD Direct+ including uplink and downlink of channels & quality control.
Doordarshan spends Rs 35 to 40 Crores every year to operate 59 channels on DD Direct+ (including 22 DD channels) whereas private operators manage over 230 channels on their respective DTH platforms at almost half the cost (on a per channel basis), sources said.
MINIMUM NET WORTH
In order to attract only serious private players, Doordarshan will keep the net worth requirement for bidders at Rs 200 Crore, which means only DTH firms like Dish TV, Tata Sky, Digital TV, Sun Direct and others can qualify. Among teleport operators, Essel Shyam and HFCL, among others, are said to have a net worth above Rs 200 Crore.
Private firms can bid as a company or a consortium, DD officials told the press. “Any DTH or teleport operator which has an experience of operating a minimum of 30 channels on MPEG-2 technology and having a net worth of Rs 200 Crore will be eligible. It will be a two-stage closed tender process and the RFP will be issued within the week,” a senior Prasar Bharati official confirmed to the press.
This is not the first time private firms have associated with DD Direct+, which recently adopted electronic auctions as the mode for allocating space to private channels. Two rounds of e-auctions have successfully been conducted by a Mumbai-based private auctioning agency.
The e-auctions for 26 channels / slots generated record revenues of Rs 63 Crore from private broadcasters. This is more than 3 times what it used to generate before migrating to e-auction mechanism 2 months ago, charging Rs 80 lakh per channel.