DD Free Dish e-Auctions to resume based on new policy

eAuctions will now be based on a differential pricing to be determined by the genre (language) of channels. The auctions will take place on annual basis only

DD Free Dish

Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar on Tuesday evening announced that DD Free Dish will be resuming e-Auctions to allocate DTH slots based on a revised policy. However, the date of the auction is yet to be announced.

In a series of tweets Shekhar highlighted the key aspects of the new policy. Shekhar said that a key consideration of the new policy was “to increase the diversity of content available on DD Free Dish and to expand its reach across India especially within the non-Hindi speaking states.” 

This new policy “aspires to increase diversity of content by providing for low entry price points - differential genre based pricing for MPEG2 slots and invitational pricing for MPEG4 slots,” he added.

He said that the new policy “makes it attractive for channels from a cash flow standpoint through better payment terms. This will ease the burden on channels while lowering the entry barrier for channels.”

Here are the highlights: 

  • e-Auctions will be based on a differential pricing to be determined by the genre (language) of channels. Private broadcasters desirous of carriage on DD FreeDish will have to declare the same to be eligible to bid in eAuctions.
  • e-Auctions will be held on annual basis for all vacant unreserved slots to ensure a stable bouquet of channels.
  • To lower the entry barrier for genres (languages) that are currently under represented on DD Free Dish the differential pricing for slots is split into 5 disparate buckets as opposed to the 2 buckets based on which eAuctions were previously held.
  • Different Genres (languages) have been grouped within these 5 buckets with differential reserve pricing for slots in respective buckets.
  • To promote the new DD Free Dish authorised Set Top Boxes the new policy also envisages invitational pricing for channels to also take up MPEG4 slots in addition to the existing MPEG2 slots.
  • The new policy also provides for reservation of MPEG4 slots for further regional channels of Doordarshan to have a dedicated satellite footprint. These stations/kendras currently operate in terrestrial mode in several states.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had suspended the e-auctioning of slots for DD Freedish in October 2017. The concern was that private broadcasters are harnessing the reach of Freedish to earn ad revenue. 

Typically, Doordarshan conducts an e-auction multiple times a year to grant vacant channel slots on DD Freedish to private broadcasters. During the last such e-auction in July 2017, Doordarshan earned Rs 85.10 crore and awarded 11 slots to private broadcasters. 

DD Free Dish DTH Platform according to latest market estimates has a base of 30 million households across India which is a significant rise over earlier estimates of about 22 million. Currently, DD Free Dish offers 72 channels and 39 radio channels. There were plans to this to 250 by the end of March 2018. 

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