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March 2019


Breaking Is Policy Paralysis Since July 2017, Prasar Bharati Sells 40 FreeDish Slots For ₹ 394.49 Crore.

Free Dish offers 80 channels, including 23 DD channels, Rajya Sabha TV and Lok Sabha TV, FTA, MPEG-2. It is a FTA DTH service, funded by taxpayer's money, to deliver Doordarshan channels throughout the country, even those areas beyond the reach of Doordarshan's terrestrial transmitters.

FreeDish has extensive reach and viewership in semi-urban & rural India. As a result, broadcasters bid substantial amounts for carriage of their channels on FreeDish.


FreeDish sold 40 MPEG-2 slots during the 38th e-auction held on 11 Feb 2019. The results were made public a few days later.

"A total of 40 MPEG-2 slots were successfully sold through the e-auction that saw participation in every bucket and intense competition in a couple of buckets. With this, the projected annual revenues from DD Free Dish from these 40 MPEG-2 slots is estimated to be around ₹ 395 crore which is nearly a 30% increase over the revenues likely from the earlier model," Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar posted on his Twitter account.


Shekhar also said that Buckets B & C saw intense competition with 11 and 16 slots being taken up at premiums upwards of 6-10% over reserve price in Bucket B and between 16-28% over reserve price in Bucket C.

"The highest bid price in Bucket A+ was 15.05 Cr, in Bucket A was 12.45 Cr, in Bucket B was 10.95 Cr and in Bucket C which saw the greatest competition it was 8.95 Cr. Bucket D saw a highest of 6.1 Cr," he noted.


He further stated that the language diversity on DD Free Dish has also seen an expansion with Marathi channels taking up slots in Bucket D. "Around 8 new channels have taken up slots in this e-auction across buckets and genres/ languages," he added.

DD Free Dish will e-auction its vacant MPEG-4 slots on 27 March. The reserve price has been fixed at ₹ 5 lakh. Details Next Month


The 4 big broadcasters have finally decided to pull their second run TV channels off FreeDish. These channels, targeted at rural audiences, carried re-runs of earlier premium content. All these channels have been converted to Pay Channels in the new tariff order regime. Hence, Star, Zee, Sony & Viacom18 decided to pull out these channels form Free Dish. As a result, 14 slots will fall vacant on Free Dish from 1st March. These will be offered for sale in subsequent auctions.


Subject to completion of all formalities, the channels who have successfully bid for slots will come on air on DD Free Dish platform from 1st March. Consequently, the existing channels, which are on DD Free Dish platform on a pro-rata basis, will be off air after 28th February. n