India’s public broadcaster Doordarshan has invited bids for MPEG-2 slots on its DTH service, FreeDish, which commands over 40 million subscriber base as per industry estimates.
Detailing the various categories of TV channel genres that can bid for the limited slots for an eight-month period of July 2023 to March 2024, the pubcaster said the online auction process is likely to be held on July 4.
Only satellite channels licensed by The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has issued a notification amending the Cable Television Network Rules,1994, thereby introducing a procedure for the renewal of multi-system operator (MSO) registrations, which is aimed at easing ways to do business in the country. would be allowed to participate in the e- auction for free-to-air FreeDish slots. International public broadcasters permitted by the government too can participate in the auction process.
In the past a couple of European pubcasters did manage to find a place on FreeDish, which offers limited shelf space in MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 formats — all of which have seen aggressive bidding by TV channels, especially those in the entertainment and news genres.
Though FreeDish offers a humongous reach, especially in smaller towns and rural areas of the country that can be monetised in terms of ad revenues by TV channels, it comes at a high price. And, aggressive bidding by media companies only pushes up the price — as has been seen in the past.
For example, for round one of Bucket A, which is meant for Hindi movies and teleshopping channels genres, the reserve price is a stiff Rs. 174133000.