The battle for DD Metro is all set to heat up again. Doordarshan has put on the block the 7 pm–12:30 am slot for a three-year period. Unlike last year, the slugfest will be intense this year with big players including -- STAR, Sony, Zee and HFCL-Nine Broadcasting – expected to fight it out.
Last year, HFCL-Nine Broadcasting and Subhash Chandra-promoted Zee were the two prime contenders for the slots. The HFCL-Nine Broadcasting bagged the prime time slot of 9 pm to 10 pm for Rs 121 crore. The company’s annual contract ends on September 10 for the 7 pm-9 pm slot and October 15 for 9 pm to 10 pm band.
The minimum floor price for 7 pm to 10 pm band is same as that of last year. The 7 pm-8 pm slot is pegged at Rs 22.5 crore, 8 pm–9 pm band at Rs 32.5 crore, 9 pm-10 pm at Rs 42.5 crore.
Taking a lesson from past experience, when it almost drew a blank for the late night slot, Doordarshan has pegged the floor price for 10 pm-11 pm slot at Rs 17.5 crore. Free Commercial Time of up to 600 seconds per year would be on offer to successful bidders. The bids are to be open on June 18.
DD Metro has access to over 60 million television homes compared to around 35 million cable and satellite homes in the country. The metro network has set a target of reaching out to 125 million homes over the next two years.
Many satellite broadcasters feel running DD Metro could be a viable proposition in the long-run and it will take at least three years for any operation to break-even.
Doordarshan is also scouting for distribution and marketing partners for its international channel, DD World. It has sought bids from interested parties on a minimum guarantee and revenue-sharing basis.