Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati is opening up its Rs 500-crore direct-to-home (DTH) platform to private players, for Rs 75 lakh per channel per year. Private Indian broadcasters lined up at Prasar Bharati office on Friday for a meeting on DTH. Private channels have to give their feedback on various issues related to the project by May 15.
At the time of its June-July launch, Prasar Bharati DTH would have 30 channels in all, out of which, there is room for 14 private channels. It would keep at least 16 Doordarshan channels on the platform. Since DTH, by definition, is a commercial venture, and Prasar Bharati is going for a free-to-air model, it is often referred to as a Ku Band project.
If 14 private channels, as proposed, join the public broadcaster's DTH platform, Prasar Bharati could garner a neat Rs 10.5 crore from this tie-up. The broadcaster is already planning an expansion of its DTH platform to a total of 60 channels, DD director-general Naveen Kumar said. More private channels could be accommodated once expansion of capacity happens, he added.
Although sharing of the DTH platform with private channels is being seen as a revenue-generating plan, some private broadcasters could even insist on a barter scheme. Among the private broadcasters who were present at Friday’s meeting include Zee, Sun, Enadu and TV Today.
Prasar Bharati is not the only one with DTH plans. ASC Enterprises, promoted by Zee chairman Subhash Chandra, launched its DTH (Dish TV) a few months ago. The Tata group and Rupert Murdoch’s Star have also entered a 80:20 joint venture for DTH, scheduled for a launch in October. Prasar Bharati’s DTH is meant to cater to remote and hilly regions of the country.