Are some un-encrypted channels on DD Free Dish eating into Prasar Bharati’s revenue?

Few broadcasters have reportedly been bypassing Free Dish regulations and causing Prasar Bharati a loss of nearly Rs 60 crore in a year

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Feb 13, 2020 8:37 AM  | 2 min read

The window for submitting bids for DD Free Dish MPEG-2 slots, as part of the 44th e-auction allotment, will close in five days. While broadcasters are prepping to submit their final bids, are some channels getting a free ride on the DD Free Dish?

According to sources, few channels have been bypassing Free Dish regulations and are thus creating discrepancies in the industry and causing losses to Prasar Bharati.  

This has been reportedly leading to the government losing revenues to the tune of nearly Rs 60 crore in a year.

As it turns out, a host of broadcasters have already written to MIB, DD and TRAI about the misuse of Free Dish slots, for which others have been shelling out hefty fees.

But how is this slip taking place?

The Television service distribution sector in the country mainly comprises cable TV services, delivered by Multi-System Operator (MSO)/ Local Cable Operator (LCO), Direct to Home (DTH) services, Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) services, Headend-in-the-Sky (HITS) services, and terrestrial TV services which are provided by Doordarshan, the public broadcaster. All of these service providers together are commonly referred to as Distribution Platform Operators (DPOs).

The TV channel distribution platforms primarily re-transmit broadcast TV channels permitted by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) under their Uplinking/Downlinking Guidelines.
Channels available on DD Free Dish are free, thereby offering these channels a huge viewership and reach. Channels bypassing the free bouquet bid for slots on DD Free Dish are also thereby avoiding the carriage fee that is levied eventually.

DD Free Dish is available in Ku-Band on GSAT-15.

This method of operation is a clear violation of Clause 5.1 of the uplinking guidelines dated December 5, 2011, issued by the MIB. Such violations have cost 

The clause says, “The company can uplink either in C or Ku Band. Uplinking in C Band would be permitted both to Indian as well as foreign satellites. However, proposals envisaging the use of Indian satellites will be accorded preferential treatment. On the other hand, uplinking in Ku Band would be permitted through Indian satellite only, subject to the condition that this permission is not used to run/ operate DTH service without proper license, to which separate guidelines apply. Satellite to be used should have been coordinated with INSAT System.”

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