In a development that could see many free-to-air channels finally being taken off DD Direct Plus, Prasar Bharati has sent notices to the free-to-air channels present on its DTH platform to pay a carriage fee of Rs 1 crore within 15 days. Many broadcasters have already expressed their inability to pay this amount.
“We are not asking this money to make profit, but to meet our expenditure to maintain the infrastructure,” explained a Prasar Bharati official.
The official also confirmed that Jaya TV, Sadhana TV and Deutsche Welle TV had already paid the carriage fee. “Sun TV has also agreed to pay the fee and four of its channels will soon be embraced into the platform,” the official added.
“Many public service broadcasters of Sri Lanka and Australia have also approached us to be part of our DTH platform. However, no decision has been taken in this regard,” the official further informed.
When contacted, a STAR India official said, “We had long back informed Prasar Bharati that we won’t be able to afford the fee. So, if they wish they can stop carrying our channel.” STAR Utsav being an FTA channel has been on Prasar Bharati’s DTH platform.
An official of ETC Punjabi also expressed a similar view. “There is no viewership analysis available for DTH subscribers as yet. If we cannot sell the subscribers numbers to our advertisers, why should we pay to the DTH provider? Further, when private DTH players carry our channels for free, why should we pay to the public broadcaster to be a part of its platform?” he asked.
DD Direct Plus claims to have a 60 per cent share of the DTH market with around 2.5 million subscribers, mostly in rural India. Apart from DD’s own channels, the private FTA channels present on the platform include Sadhana TV, DW-TV, Zee Music, Zee Smile, ETC Punjabi, STAR Utsav, Aaj Tak, Headlines Today, Jain TV, MH1, ETV Marathi, Jaya TV, Kairali TV, TV9 and Akash Bangla.