September 2018


A group of investors led by Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited (MEIL) has signed a definitive agreement to buy out Associated Broadcasting Company Private Limited (ABCL), which owns a bouquet of regional television news channels under the TV 9 brand.

Private equity firm Peepul Capital's cofounder and chairman, Sriniraju (Chintalapati Srinivasa Raju), and his firms own majority stake in the media company while private equity firm Saif Partners and TV 9 CEO Ravi Prakash own the rest of the equity.

Reports are that ABCL will sell its full stake for a little over ₹ 450 Crores.

Launched in 2003, TV 9 is a profitable company & a ratings leader in the Telugu news genre. TV 9 operates news channels in 7 languages, including Kannada and Gujarati.

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The Indian government has withdrawn Al Jazeera English television channel's security clearance. As a consequence, the channel cannot be downlinked and India and retransmitted on Cable TV networks or DTH & IPTV platforms.

While no explanation was given, reports are that the decision stemmed from the broadcast of a documentary about militancy in Kashmir that was deemed biased.

The fate of the network's distribution in India now depends on the home ministry's ruling on a petition by the channel seeking a review, top officials said.

According to official documents, the security clearance was granted by the home ministry on December 3, 2010 and withdrawn on May 29, 2018. Al Jazeera English is run by AJI International Pvt Ltd.

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Channel [V] - Star India's answer to MTV has failed to attract sufficient audiences, and is being shut down on 14 Sept 2018.

Star Sports-3 will commence transmissions in its place, on 15 Sept 2018.

Star Sports-3 is being marketed as a multi-lingual sports channel, offering audio feeds in the local language of respective states. To begin with, the channel will broadcast Indian Super League (ISL) in Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Telugu & Marathi. In future, more language feeds are promised.

Currently, Star has 2 regional sports channels - Star Sports 1 Hindi & Star Sports 1 Tamil. The earlier plan was to replace Channel [V] with Star Sports 1 Kannada

The I&B ministry has permitted Star Sports-3 to operate on the same downlink license as Channel [V].

Star Sports-3 is a pay channel priced at ₹ 19 per month per subscriber, and hence can be included in bouquets, as per the TRAI Tariff Order.

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Zee launched 'ZEE Bollywood' - a Bollywood movie channel on 31 August. The channel replaced Zee Classic, which has been discontinued.

Unlike some pay Hindi movie channels which air a mix of Bollywood and South Indian dubbed films, Zee Bollywood will only air Bollywood movies. The channel will not air any dubbed movies.

ZEEL's current Hindi movie bouquet comprises of Zee Cinema, &pictures, Zee Action, Zee Bollywood & Zee Anmol Cinema. Together, the cluster has a market share of 35% in the Hindi movie genre.

The ad market for pay Hindi movie channels is pegged at ₹ 2000 crore.

Launched in 2005, Zee Classic was created to air only old / classic movies.

The company also plans to soon launch the channel is HD as 'Zee Classic HD'. Testing has commenced from Intelsat20 with Conax encryption @ 3810 MHz, Vert Pol & SR 15,000.

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"The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the reappointment of Ram Sewak Sharma as chairperson, TRAI, for a further period beyond 10 July 2018, up to 30 August 2020 i.e. the date on which he attains the age of 65 or until further orders whichever is earlier," according to a notification issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).

This is the first time; since the inception of the authority in 1997; that a TRAI chairman has been given a second term.

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ZEEL continues to rebrand additional channels under its "&" brand. English movie channel Zee Studio has already been re-branded &flix. Plans are to also rebrand its English GEC Zee Cafe as &Cafe.

Some industry observers were perplexed why Zee was destroying its well-established English language brands.

India has 50 million English language TV entertainment viewers. Zee Cafe figures in the top 3 English GEC genre.

Explaining the rationale behind the rebranding of Zee Studio, ZEEL MD & CEO - Punit Goenka said the company had acquired a full library courtesy its first pay features deal with Sony Pictures Television (SPT). With so much fresh content, it was decided to re-name the channel. He also said that the & brand has a better connect with the English-speaking viewers which was evident from the success of &prive.

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Indian & Chinese consumers will continue to use 'legacy pay TV services' for at least the next 5 years, and the market for these services will continue to grow.

This is according to a Strategy Analytics' Television & Media Strategies (TMS) report "TV's Transformation: A Unified TV and Video Market Perspective."

Unlike North America and Western Europe, where consumers are shifting to OTT, the Asia Pacific region, led by India & China is projected to account for 23.4% of global consumer and advertising spend on TV and video by 2022.

"Traditional TV and video services should not despair too much, as they will continue to account for the majority of consumer & advertising spend for the foreseeable future," said director Television, Media Strategies Michael Goodman.

By 2022, consumer and advertising spend on traditional TV and video products and services globally will be over $435 billion, an increase of $7 billion from 2017, and account for nearly 78% of all TV and video revenue.

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On 8 August, the High court at Hyderabad, suspended implementation of GOMS.No.15/18, passed by the Andhra Pradesh Government, seeking to collect pole rental charges @ ₹ 50 in Municipalities and ₹ 35 per pole per month in Rural areas, throughout the state. The stay is till the court next hearing in court.

The petition was filed by A.Tulsi Raj Gokul, Advct, for 25 cable operators of the Seemandhra Cable Operators Welfare Association (SCOWA), challenging the government order.

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G.S. Kesarwani - Dy Advisor TRAI has left TRAI on August 10, and returned to his parent organisation Doordarshan, after completing 7 years of deputation with the regulator.

He re-joined DD as Dy Director - Engineering.

At TRAI, Kesarwani was associated with the Cable & Broadcast sector including, DAS implementation.

Kesarwani is an Indian Broadcasting (Engineering) Services Officer of the 1993 batch. He is a B.Tech (Electronics & Telecom) from J.K. Institute of Applied Physics, University of Allahabad and M.Tech from IIT Kanpur.

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The MIB has issued a directive asking private satellite channels & the electronic media to not telecasting even blurred images of minor girls who have been the victim of sexual abuse.

This is in accordance of the Supreme Court's order dated 2 August, which states "in the interest of minor girls, electronic media cannot broadcast the images of girls even in morphed or blurred form. We request the media not to interview minor girls. News of the events, of course, be disseminated but the interest of minor girls should be kept in mind."

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The MIB has issued a notice requesting all broadcasters and teleport operators to provide the details of the agreement entered into for the purpose of availing transponder services on foreign satellite for up-linking of TV Channels/Teleport/DSNG Vans in order to further ease the process of remittance of foreign exchange satellite service providers outside India.

The 25.06.2014 advisory requires all broadcast companies and teleport operators to strictly follow the guidelines under the provisions of the FEMA Act 1999, which requires prior approval of the MIB to make remittance of foreign exchange for transponder services on foreign satellites.

An industry observer opined that this is probably done to review all existing transponder agreements, and push broadcasters to shift to Indian satellites once the existing agreements lapse.

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