April 2017


The Madras High Court has refused to pass an interim order on Star India and Vijay TV's petition seeking a stay on the TRAI tariff order and interconnection regulation.

TRAI has told the Court that its tariff order will be published in the gazette 3 April 2017 and will only come into effect 1 month later.

The TRAI began its submission in the matter which will continue on 3 April.

Thereafter, the interveners - the All India Digital Cable Federation (AIDCF) and Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) make their submissions.

Star India and Vijay TV had completed their submissions on 24 March. Ex finance minister and prominent senior counsel P Chidambaram had argued for them, that the TRAI's order is in violation of Copyright Act.

We will provide our readers a detailed update in the May issue.

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Five companies have been short listed by Doordarshan as OEM suppliers for FreeDish's MPEG-4 STBs which will include the Indian Conditional Addressable System (iCAS).

E-tenders were opened on 9 December 2016 and the following approved:

♣ MCBS, Gujarat.

♣ Velankani Electronics, Bangalore

♣ BGM Holding Co, Ghaziabad;

♣ KMTS Eng Pvt Ltd, Delhi

♣ Millennium Tech, Delhi

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To counter FreeDish's growing popularity, DishTV has launched its own FTA pack, priced at Rs. 1,149 (including tax) for 3 years, i.e. approx. Rs. 1 per day. DishTV currently offers more than 100 FTA channels. Subscribers will get to receive all FTA channel offered on the DTH platform from time to time.

This is the first acknowledgement by distributors that FTA channels could be the next growth area.

Pay TV STB deployment in DAS Phases 3 & 4 have been hugely below expectations. Infact more than 60% of DAS-4 homes have refused to take Cable or DTH STBs. They are expected to turn to FreeDish and its promised bouquet of 200 FTA channels, for their daily TV viewing.

DishTV's move locks in consumers to the platform for 3 years, enabling them to subscribe to additional channels, anytime in future.

The move will almost certainly herald similar moves by other DTH platforms.

The TRAI's new tariff order allows DTH, HITS & cable TV platforms to charge upto Rs. 130 per month for 100 channel delivery, as a "Network Capacity Fee. The tariff order permits platforms to discount this fee to any extent.

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On March 9, the MIB has issued a notice threatening to cancel the licences of teleport operators have not furnished the complete list of TV channels being uplinked from their teleport every month. The teleport operators have been given 15 days to comply. If they fail to do so, it will be presumed that the teleport is not functioning and action will be initiated for cancellation of its permission.

Teleport operators are required to submit a monthly statement to the MIB.

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Zee Media Corporation Ltd (ZMCL) is looking to launch news channels in Gujarati and Urdu.

ZMCL has received MIB approval to rename its existing licences for Zee Shopping and Zee Bihar Jharkhand to Zee Urdu and Zee 24 Kalak.

In February 2016, ZMCL received 2 licences under the names Zee 24 Hour Business and Zee Bihar Jharkhand. Subsequently, Zee 24 Hour Business was renamed Zee Shopping while the name Zee Bihar Jharkhand remained unchanged.

Given the multiple name changes, it remains to be seen if these 2 channels will also be launched.

ZEEL already runs a pay Urdu infotainment channel named Zee Salaam.

Assembly elections in Gujarat are scheduled for December 2017, which could be an opportune time for the Gujarati news channel.

Existing Gujarati news channels include TV9 Gujarati, ABP Asmita, GSTV and VTV Gujarati. Sandesh News' licence was cancelled recently by the MIB.

ZMCL currently operates Zee News, Zee Business, India 24Ã-7, WION, Zee Punjab Haryana Himachal, Zee Madhya Pradesh Chhattisgarh, Zee 24 Taas, 24 Ghanta, Zee Kalinga News, Zee Purvaiya and Zee Rajasthan News.

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The Times Group has renamed and repositioned its MagicBricks Now property news channel to "Mirror Now."

The move was reportedly initiated when the property market collapsed during de-monitisation.

Faye D'Souza will continue to head the channel. Under its new avatar, Mirror Now will serve English audiences, focusing on every day hassles faced by the common nam, like crime, women's safety, traffic woes, and civic issues such as cleanliness, health, environment, power and water.

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TV broadcasters have received several sops as part of the government's initiatives for "ease of doing business".

The MIB has said that channels that have a 10- year validity on their license can simply pay their annual fees without the need for any fresh approvals.

The Government had also done away with the restrictions imposed under clauses 2.1.4 and 3.1.15 of the Uplinking Guidelines dated 5 December 2011 and clause 1.10 of the Downlinking Guidelines dated 5 December 2011 requiring appointment at top management position with a minimum of 3 years' prior experience in a media company operating News/ Non-News & Current Affairs TV Channels.

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Sony Pictures Networks India is planning additional language feeds for the 10th IPL season, commencing 5 April. The English & Telugu feeds will continue this year's also.

Hindi, Tamil & Bengali feeds will be added this year.

The English feed will be available on Sony Six, whereas the Telugu, Tamil, Bengali & Hindi feeds will be available on the Sony ESPN channels. Sony Max will air the Hindi feed.

IPL now faces stiff competition from other cricket tournaments. It remains to be seen how advertisers and viewers respond to the 2017 IPL.

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The MIB has eased rules for broadcasters and teleports making foreign currency payments for transponder rentals for uplinking to foreign satellites. The MIB notice now permits them to make payments from their Exchange Earners' Foreign Currency (EEFC) accounts, without prior approval.

The notice states "All broadcast companies and teleport operators, as per MIB's advisory dated 25 June 2014, are advised to strictly follow the guidelines under provisions of the FEMA Act 1999 read with Master Circular No. 6/2014-15 dated 1 July 2014 along with Schedule II thereof issued by RBI. Proposals seeking prior approval would require to be sent to this Ministry only if the proposed remittance is from other than EEFC accounts."

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In Feb 2011, the Committee of Artists and Technicians of West Bengal Film, Eastern India Motion Picture Association (EIMPA) and Television Investors (Coordination Committee), had approached the Competition Commission of India (CCI) asking it to halt the airing of the Mahabharat serial on some TV channels, dubbed in Bengali.

EIMPA held that serials produced in other languages and shown on the TV Channels after dubbing them in Bangla would affect Bangla content producers and, in turn adversely affect the artists and technicians working in West Bengal. This may deter production of serials in Bangla because of the entry of serials produced in other languages and shown to the public by dubbing the same in their language.

The CCI halted the screenings, terming them "anti-competitive."

The Competition Appellate Tribunal however rejected the CCI order, stating that the EIMPA and the coordination committee were not an "enterprise."

The CCI then approached the Supreme Court.

In its judgement, the Supreme Court held that, preventing channels from airing the tele-serial Mahabharat dubbed in Bengali is an "Anti- Competitive" activity, and the protection under the garb of language goes against the interest of competition.

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ZEEL has bought the satellite rights to superstar Rajinikanth's sci-fi thriller "2.0" for reportedly Rs. 110 crore. The satellite rights are for all languages including Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

The movie is a sequel to the 2010 blockbuster "Enthiran."

2.0 will feature Rajinikanth in the roles of Dr. Vaseegaran and Chitti & also stars Bollywood star Akshay Kumar in the role of an antagonist.

The film is believed to be India's most expensive film with a budget of Rs. 400 crore. It is scheduled for similtaneous release worldwide on 18 October around Diwali, in Hindi, Tamil & Telugu.

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