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No takers for DD Metro prime-time slots

19-June-2001
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No takers for DD Metro prime-time slots

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 Broadcasting India.

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 evening.

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 Metro channel.

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.

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