Some 65 TV channels, which include those from genres like general entertainment, news, sports, and wellness and religious, have managed to be successful in finding berths on Doordarshan FreeDish platform in the MPEG-2 category.
Some of the Hindi news channels, if media reports are to be believed, shelled out hefty amounts while bidding for space on FreeDish, which has limited capacity to carry private sector TV channels, but offers massive reach and a humungous number of eyeballs.
Former Prasar Bharati (Doordarshan parent) CEO SS Vempati during a fireside chat at Aavishkaar-organised SatCab Symposium in New Delhi in January had said that as per his estimates the subscriber base of DD FreeDish would be in excess of 50 million homes.
The news channels that managed to get onto to the free to air DTH platform included News 18 India, Republic TV Bharat, TV9 Bharatvarsh, Zee News, NDTV India, ABP News, Times Now Navbharat, News Nation
Aaj Tak, Bharat 24, India TV and Good News Today.
Some of the successful general entertainment genre channels include the likes of Azaad, Dangal 2, Shemaroo, Umang Nazara TV, Ishara TV, B4U Kadak, The Q and Star Utsav Movies.
Meanwhile, despite initial protests from TV news channels’ two main associations, the member-channels had taken part in the auction of slots on pubcaster Doordarshan’s FreeDish (http://www.indianbroadcastingworld.com/several-news-channels-buy-dd-free-dish-slots/).
FreeDish, a venture of public broadcaster Prasar Bharati, has a subscriber base mostly in rural and semi-urban areas, thus forming a big source for eyeballs that could be monetised in the form of advertising revenue. And, it’s the eyeballs that force Indian television news channels to bid aggressively for limited shelf space on this free to air DTH platform.
The recently-concluded auctions are for the period April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024 and are considered important revenue generators for the pubcaster.