B4U Plus, Atrangi TV bag DD Free Dish MPEG-2 slots in 61st e-auction

As per industry sources, the big broadcasters, who are looking to relaunch their Hindi GECs on the FTA DTH platform, decided to sit out as only two slots were up for grabs

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Aug 11, 2022 8:42 AM  | 2 min read
DD Free Dish

B4U Network's Hindi movie channel B4U Plus and the newly launched Hindi GEC Atrangi TV have won MPEG-2 slots on DD Free Dish during the 61st e-auction that was held on Wednesday, sources close to the development said.

Sources further stated that the two channels will replace rural-focussed Hindi GEC Azaad TV and Sanjeev Kapoor's FoodFood, which have exited DD Free Dish. B4U Network already has four channels namely B4U Bhojpuri, B4U Kadak, B4U Music, and B4U Movies on DD Free Dish.

A Prasar Bharati official said that the result of the e-auction will be made public soon after the procedure for awarding slots is completed.

At Rs 14.38 crore, the base price for Hindi movie channels was more than Hindi GECs, which had a base price of Rs 9.78 crore. The e-auction didn't see much action as most broadcasters didn't participate in the bidding.

An industry source said the big broadcasters, who are looking to relaunch their Hindi GECs on the FTA DTH platform, decided to sit out the 61st e-auction as only two slots were up for grabs.

"The Big 4 broadcasters didn't want a bidding war to take place due to the availability of fewer slots," the source added.

Prasar Bharati had issued a notice on 29th July inviting applications for allotment of vacant MPEG-2 slots on a pro-rata basis for the period from 17.08.2022 to 31.03.2023.

The public broadcaster will conduct the 62nd e-auction on 17th August to offer vacant MPEG-4 slots on a pro-rata basis from 24th August 2022 to 31st March 2023. Bidding in the e-auction will be open to all channels across languages and genres at starting reserve price of Rs 10,113,000.

A vast majority of DD Free Dish's consumer base uses MPEG-2 set-top boxes (STBs), which are unencrypted and can be purchased from any STB dealer in the open market. The MPEG-4 STB, on the other hand, is encrypted and can only be purchased from authorised dealers approved by the Prasar Bharati. The MPEG-4 STBs are a fraction of DD Free Dish's overall consumer base. 

The DD Free Dish service is availed by 43 million households and growing.

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