DD starts consultation on revising auction norms for FreeDish MPEG4 slots
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2 weeks ago 06:00:20am Television

DD starts consultation on revising auction norms for FreeDish MPEG4 slots

New Delhi, 29-May-2024, By IBW Team

DD FreeDish

Even as Doordarshan has invited bids for MPEG2 and MPEG4 slots on its free DTH platform FreeDish for June 2024 to March 2025 period, it has simultaneously sought stakeholders’ comments in a short consultation paper for revising norms for MPEG4 auction process.

The latest rounds of e-auctions for MPEG4 slots are likely to be held on May 30.

Issues for stakeholders — read broadcasting companies — consultation include whether the various categorisation (or Buckets as they are called by Doordarshan) of genre of TV channels presently followed need a change as outlined in the consultation paper.

For example, DD has suggested that in future as the channel-carrying capacity of its platform increases, there can be three to five slots for all HD channels, while keeping five to seven slots for regional language channels of ‘uncovered Indian languages’. In the latter regional category, all those TV channels, being carried on private DTH platforms in the respective category, can participate in the auction process.

Similarly, it has been proposed in the consultation paper that three to five slots be allocated for kids, infotainment and sports channels in Hindi/English languages.

The consultation paper also seeks stakeholders’ views on the reserve price for each category with bid incremental amount and the quantum of fee for participating in the e-auction process of MPEG-4 slots, industry sources, who have reviewed the paper, revealed.

FreeDish has come in for criticism from stakeholders at various platforms with the most recent being an open house on the proposed National Broadcasting Policy organised by regulator TRAI. Most common stakeholders’ grouse: FreeDish, which is not regulated under any norms of the regulator, un-levels and queers the playing field as far as other distribution platforms go.

MPEG4 slots were started on FreeDish —- which commands about 40-45 million subscriber base as per unofficial industry estimates — in the year 2019 with the bidding kept open for all genres and language of TV channels permitted by the government to operate in India.

When it started, the auction reserve price was pegged at Rs 5 lakh (Rs. 500,000)/annum with bid incremental of Rs. 10,000. These figures were revised in April 2021 when the reserve price was upped to Rs. 50 lakh/annum with bid increment of Rs. 2 lakhs or Rs. 200,000.

Meanwhile, Storyboard18.com yesterday reported that Prasar Bharati, which owns and manages Doordarshan and Akashvani, is likely to increase the capacity of DD FreeDish by at least 40 slots in 2025 as it would be allotted new transponders.

However, it was not disclosed on which satellite FreeDish would get additional transponders.

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