The auctioning of prime-time slot
on DD Metro has come a cropper with Prasar Bharati
failing to receive bids from any major players
including the current telecast rights-holder HFCL-Nine
STAR TV, Zee Network and Sony
Entertainment Television didn’t participate in the bid
as they found it abnormally expensive. Monday was the
last day for bidding. DD had asked for a minimum
price of Rs 97.50 crore for the 7-10 p.m. band on
Metro for three years.
Although DD officials remained
tight-lipped on the outcome of the auction, Prasar
Bharati officials continued to be in a closed-door
meeting with the CEO Anil Baijal till late in the
In the adverse market situation,
broadcasters felt they could not generate adequate
revenues to pay up DD and invest in programming.
Broadcasters also said they were put off by the bid,
which did not allow them to put up re-runs on the
Zee TV, which made a cost-benefit
analysis, decided to withdraw from the bid at the last
moment as they found the pricing very expensive.
STAR felt that it would be better
to consolidate its leadership position of STAR Plus
and push up the other channels rather than put in big
monies behind DD Metro. Private satellite channels
also did not want to cannibalise their viewership and
invest in a brand, which they will not own in the long
run unless it was profitable.
For Channel Nine, which did not
have a satellite channel, being on DD Metro for three
hours made sense as it gave them wide visibility and a
brand equity. But the company declined to renew the
contract at the same commercial terms.
With all the prospective bidders
backing out, HFCL-Nine Broadcasting India is keen to
initiate fresh talks with DD.