Major broadcasters pull out Hindi mass entertainment channels from Free Dish

Consumers may not get to watch general entertainment channels like Star Utsav & Zee Anmol

prasar bharati

A few top broadcasters have decided to pull out their Hindi mass entertainment channels from the free-to-air platform of Prasar Bharati, as per media reports. The list includes Star India, Sony Pictures Networks India, Zee and IndiaCast Media Distribution, which distributes TV18 and Viacom18 channels.

As a result of this consumers will not be able to watch some of the general entertainment channels, including Star Utsav, Zee Anmol and others.

According to an EY Report — India’s Free TV-DD Free Dish—the state-run DTH provider has over 20 million subscribers. This is considerably more than national pay TV companies, with the average for both being around 8 million and 16million.  Experts said this move by the broadcasters will bring down the wide viewership that DD Free Dish enjoys.

“Consumers will now have to buy the channels they want to watch from the cable operators as per ala carte options. This way, the whole objective of DD Free Dish which is to provide Free Entertainment to people across the country will not be served,” said distribution expert KK Sharma.

According to Raman Kalra, Partner, Entertainment, Media and Sports Sector, PwC India, “These are early days of the New Tariff Order and can potentially change a lot of things in the end-to-end distribution value chain. Subscription monetization and value creation between different players, be it broadcasters, MSOs, DPOs, last-mile operators or the public broadcaster will eventually be shaped up by market economics. Broadcasters have a total right to look at their business growth in free competitive market and decide on what business revenue models make sense. The next few quarters will be a defining era of many experiments.”

Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Sekhar Vempati was not available for comments despite repeated attempts.

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