MUMBAI: Doordarshan’s direct-to-home (DTH) platform, DD Direct+ has been renamed to ‘FREEDISH’. The trademark has been registered and highlights its unique proposition of being free from any monthly payment for life.
DD conducts a transparent e-auction for placement of private channels on its DTH platform. In the recently concluded e-auction, a new system of e-auctioning was adopted after approval of the Prasar Bharati Board.
“The new system of e-auctioning, in which auctioning was done for 28 channel slots, has yielded positive results. In comparison to previous years e-auctioning, where the average price per channel for 28 channels auctioned was Rs 2.73 crore, in the present year the average price has risen sharply to Rs 3.7 crore, a growth of nearly Rs 1 crore per channel,” states a report sent by DD.
The platform is also planning to expand its channel carrying capacity. The work contracts, according to the report sent by DD, has already been finalised and equipments are now being shipped for taking the total carrying capacity of the DTH platform to nearly 120 channels, which doubles the present capacity of 59 channels. DD expects that the increase in number of channels will lead to substantial increase in the viewership base.
It is to be noted that DD’s DTH platform that earlier had unencrypted signals, did not need the consumers to activate their set top boxes. As a result, DD did not have a conclusive data for its viewer’s base. However, in the expansion phase, the increased channels will be encrypted and will require consumers to activate their STBs. This activation will authoritatively confirm the subscription base, an essential requirement for marking.
The exposed expansion plan is expected to be completed by 31 March 2014. In its new avatar, customers can order STBs from call centres. Customers can also access various set top manufactures call centres for any service related query. Presently, the STBs are not authorised by DD which has led to several complaints.
In the coming phase, the set top manufactures will be authorised by DD after confirming compliance to Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) of production and quality. Consumers will also benefit by getting warranty for the STBs and better servicing. These practices were hitherto absent.
The channel also expects to cover a substantial portion of DTH market by the time the phase-IV of digitisation is completed. DD also expects a large number of viewers to switch to DD’s “FREEDISH” from cable and other DTH services as it offers a number of channels at no monthly charges for life.
The DTH service presently offers 59 channels that include 21 DD channels and 38 other channels offering a wide variety of entertainment, musical, devotional, educational, news, international channels etc.