September 2019


Members of the Federations of Cable TV Associations of Tamil Nadu petitioned the Dindigul Collector, complaining against the Dindigul district Arasu Cable TV Corporation tahsildar and his staff.

"In Nilakottai area, the tahsildar and his staff have snapped all private cable connections without any prior notice and they threaten that only Arasu cable connections should be taken up. Connections are given based on customers' preferences and a majority of them prefer private connection as the service is better," said R. Suresh, a cable TV operator from Dindigul.

"Arasu cable staff have also seized signal equipment from our offices and because of this, a lot of customers are unable to watch the channels, despite subscribing to the connection. Recently, a cable TV operator died of electric shock while trying to set right a cable snapped by the Arasu cable staff," he added.

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Sun TV Network had planned to launch its Marathi GEC by end 2019 but has postponed plans indefinitely, due to a slowdown in the economy.

"See, that is because of the kind of situation which now exists. We are treading with caution now. We're unlikely to go and make a big splash at this point in time. So please wait until you hear from us. For the time being, it's put on hold," Sun TV Network Group CFO SL Narayanan told analysts during Q1 earnings conference call when queried about the delay in Sun Marathi launch.

Sun TV Network president & MD R Mahesh Kumar had stated that the investment in Sun Marathi is approximately ₹ 50-60 crore.

Giving the break-up of Q1 revenue, Sun TV Network CFO VC Unnikrishnan disclosed that the ad revenue for the quarter is ₹ 368 crore, broadcast revenue is ₹ 10 crore, international subscription revenue is around ₹ 41 crore, cable including digital is about ₹ 169 crore while the DTH revenue is ₹ 228 crore. The revenue from the Indian Premier League (IPL) is ₹ 244 crore.

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As a boost to the implementation of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, Doordarshan carried sign language interpretation of the address of President of India on the eve of Independence Day and the Prime Minister's address from the Red Fort on Independence Day.

Further, the I&B ministry asked all private satellite news TV channels to telecast a short programme on the Independence Day Celebrations, accompanied with sign language interpretation, in the afternoon or evening of 15 August. The channels could make their own programme, or carry a bulletin prepared by DD News free of cost.

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To enhance the quality of its programs, Doordarshan will appoint suitable external professionals as Chief Content Officer & Channel Heads on a contract basis.

The selection committee headed by Prasar Bharati Chairman A Surya Prakash will select professionals with 15-20 years of experience in broadcasting with specialisation in news/culture /arts /entertainment/sports and other relevant genres.

The Chief Content Officer will be responsible for the content/creative functions and operations across the Doordarshan network (National and regional channels).

The Channel Heads will manage individual channels in line with the Content and Channel Strategy.

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In a desperate bid to reactivate 1.2 million STBs that Arasu consumers switched off, the Tamil Nadu government's MSO has slashed its Pay TV package price from ₹ 260 to just ₹ 130 per month + taxes (₹ 154). This includes the NCF & 6 Pay TV packs (₹ 95 per month). Since pay channel prices must be in accordance with the New Tariff Order prices, and cannot be discounted below the specified limits, it implies that Arasu is charging an NCF of just ₹ 35 per month.

The 6 Pay TV bouquets included in Arasu's base pack total ₹ 95 per month. They are Star Value Pack Tamil, (₹ 25), Zee Prime Pack Tamil (₹ 10), Discovery Kids (₹ 6), Sun TV Tamil Basic Pack (₹ 40), Colors Tamil Budget (₹ 6) and Jaya HD pack (₹ 6).

The total cost of these pay channel packs totals ₹ 95 per month.

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The TDSAT has fined Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation (TACTV) ₹ 5,000 for arbitrarily disconnecting Tamil news channel, Sathiyam TV.

Three Salem-based subscribers had complained to the TDSAT. They alleged that the channel was pulled off the Arasu network on 12 July, the day after it carried a panel discussion on the channel 'Sathiyam Sathiyame' (truth is only truth), regarding the Madras High Court's verdict on allegations of corruption against the Madurai Municipal Corporation. The court had the Corporation Commissioner to install CCTV cameras to monitor the functioning of vigilance booths in all corporation offices & prominently display signboards stating that corruption is a heinous crime.

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Doordarshan auctioned 3 slots on its FreeDish MPEG-2 platform, at its 41st e-auction platform. DD collected ₹ 21.69 crore from the auction of these 3 slots, for the period 16 August 2019 to 29 February 2020.

The 3 winning bidders for the slots were Hindi GEC Manoranjan Grand, Hindi movie channel Zingaat and Skystar Telugu.

Interestingly, Manoranjan Grand is a new Free-To-Air channel that launched on 15 August, the same day that its slot is activated on DD FreeDish.

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DMK President M.K. Stalin on Thursday demanded an answer from Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami as to why an existing Cable Operator & a person with conflict of interest, was appointed - Chairman of Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation Ltd (TACTV).

Stalin has demanded the immediate removal of Udumalai K. Radhakrishnan as Chairman of TACTV and a probe by Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) into the sourcing of Set-Top Boxes by the company.

Radhakrishnan is also the state Minister for Animal Husbandry.

Full details of the abrupt sacking of the earlier Chairman M. Manikandan & appointment of Radhakrishnan is covered in an article elsewhere in this magazine.

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Google India has announced an increased long-term collaboration with Prasar Bharati. It currently hosts - live on YouTube - events of national importance such as the Independence Day and Republic Day telecasts.

Building on this collaboration, Google will now also digitize over 20 years of content from All India Radio & Doordarshan on Google Arts & Culture, and host digital archives of Prasar Bharti in over 12 Indian languages on YouTube.

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