Prasar Bharati's revenue from DD Free Dish auction sees a dip of 12% to Rs 645 crore

The revenue has reduced due to the exit of key channels of big four broadcasters and the drop in overall collection from the news genre, say industry sources

e4m by Javed Farooqui
Updated: Mar 14, 2022 8:57 AM  | 4 min read

Prasar Bharati has raked in Rs 645 crore from the allotment of 59 MPEG-2 slots on its free direct to home (DTH) platform DD Free Dish in the recently concluded 58th annual e-auction, industry sources have informed exchange4media. In the previous e-auction, the pubcaster had raked in Rs 731.34 crore from sale of 57 MPEG-2 slots of DD Free Dish.

The 12% decline in revenue is due to the exit of key channels like Star Utsav, Zee Anmol, Sony Pal, Colors Rishtey, Star Utsav Movies, and Sony Wah and the drop in overall collection from the news genre, sources added. The four big broadcasters - Star, Zee, Sony and Viacom18 - have decided to take off their popular entertainment channels from DD Free Dish as the platform is hurting the growth of pay DTH platforms.


Bucket A (Hindi GECs)

Six slots have been sold in this category for a total of Rs 91.1 crore. In 2021, 10 slots were picked up for Rs 157 crore. The top bidders were Shemaroo TV (Rs 15.45 crore), The Q India (Rs 15.40 crore), Enterr10 (Rs 15.35 crore), Dangal TV (Rs 15.25 crore), Azaad TV (Rs 15.25 crore), and Big Magic (Rs 15.20 crore). Star Utsav, Zee Anmol, Colors Rishtey, and Sony Pal did not participate in the auction this year. The reserve price for this bucket was Rs 15 crore.

Bucket A+ (Hindi movie channels)

In this category, 16 slots have been allotted for a total of Rs 166.55 crore compared to Rs 195 crore for a total of 10 slots in 2021. The top bidders in this category were Dhinchaak 2 (Rs 13.05 crore), Zee Rang (Rs 13 crore), B4U Movies (Rs 12.95 crore), Manoranjan TV (Rs 12.95 crore), Zee Anmol Cinema (Rs 12.90 crore), Abzy Movies (Rs 12.85 crore), B4U Kadak (Rs 12.80 crore), Colors Cineplex Bollywood (Rs 12.75 crore), Shemaroo Movie (Rs 12.70 crore), Rishtey Cineplex (Rs 12.70 crore), Movie Plus (Rs 12.70 crore), Dhinchaak Movie (Rs 12.65 crore), and Abzy Cool (Rs 12.55 crore). The reserve price of this bucket was Rs 12 crore.

Sources in the know say that Star Utsav Movies, Sony Wah, Maha Movie, and Bflix Movie did not participate in the auction this year. However, there are two new channels that have bought slots. These are Zee Rang and Shemaroo Movies.


Bucket B (Hindi Music, Sports & Teleshopping, and Bhojpuri GEC & Movies channels)

A total of 15 slots have been sold in this slot for an aggregate sum of Rs 163.75 crore as against Rs 144 crore for 13 slots last year. The reserve price for the channels stood at Rs 10 crore.

The top bidders in this category were Zee Biskope (Rs 11.10 crore), Zee Ganga (Rs 11.05 crore), B4U Music (Rs 11.05 crore), Bhojpuri Cinema (Rs 11.05 crore), B4U Bhojpuri (Rs 11 crore), Zing (Rs 11 crore), My CAM (Rs 10.95 crore), Manoranjan Grand (Rs 10.95 crore), MTV Beats (Rs 10.90 crore), Mastiii (Rs 10.90 crore), 9XM (Rs 10.85 crore), Manoranjan Prime (Rs 10.80 crore), Goldmine Bhojpuri (Rs 10.75 crore), Filamchi (Rs 10.70 crore), and Showbox Music (Rs 10.70 crore).

Dabangg and Abzy Dhakad, the two successful channels from the previous year's auction, were missing in action this time.


Bucket C (Hindi, English, and Punjabi News & Current Affairs channels)

The auction of 14 slots have fetched a total of Rs 120 crore compared to 10 slots that were sold for Rs 190.3 crore in 2021. This bucket carries a reserve price of Rs 7 crore. The total bidders in this bucket are as follows: News Nation (Rs 10.05 crore), Zee News (Rs 10 crore), R Bharat (Rs 9.95 crore), Times Now Navbharat (Rs 9.95 crore), ABP News (Rs 9.80 crore), TV9 Bharatvarsh (Rs 8.05 crore), India TV (Rs 7.85 crore), News24 (Rs 7.80 crore), Zee Hindustan (Rs 7.75 crore), NDTV India (Rs 7.75 crore), News18 India (Rs 7.70 crore), India News (Rs 7.70 crore), GNT (Rs 7.70 crore), and Aaj Tak (Rs 7.60 crore).


Bucket D (All other remaining genre language channels)

This category witnessed auction of eight for a cumulative sum of Rs 53.15 crore as against Rs 31.05 crore for auction of five slots. The entry of new channels like FoodFood and Popcorn Bhojpuri has led to a surge in overall bidding price. Enterr10 Bangla gave the auction a miss this time. This bucket had a reserve price of Rs 6 crore.

The top bidders were Zee Chitramandir (Rs 7.05 crore), Sun Marathi (Rs 6.90 crore), Manoranjan Movies (Rs 6.85 crore), Zee Punjabi (Rs 6.75 crore), Popcorn Bhojpuri (Rs 6.55 crore), Fakt Marathi (Rs 6.35 crore), Shemaroo Marathibana (Rs 6.35 crore), and FoodFood (Rs 6.35 crore).


Bucket R1 (Devotional channels)

Among all the buckets, the Bucket R1 has seen the biggest spike in overall bidding with three channels forking out approximately Rs 50 crore. This is a far cry from a measly Rs 15 crore that DD Free Dish pocketed from the bucket in 2021. At that time, the single highest bid was Rs 5 crore. The top bidders this time are Sadhana Bhakti/Vedic (Rs 20 crore), Sanskar (Rs 15.10 crore), and Aastha (Rs 14.90 crore).


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