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May 2019


On 18 April, Nepal's first satellite was despatched from the US. NepaliSat-1 is a low orbit satellite which will be in the 400-km distance from the Earth's surface. It will be stationed at the International Space Station for a month and then it will be sent to orbit the earth, according to NAST.

NepaliSat-1 costs ₹ 2 Crore & weighs 1.3 Kgs. It will take photographs & gather geographical information of the Himalayan nation.

Two Nepali scientists, Aabhas Maskey and Hariram Shrestha who are currently studying at Japanese Kyushu Institute of Technology, developed the satellite under the BIRDS project of their institute.

Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli tweeted "Though a humble beginning, with the launching of NepaliSat-1 Nepal has entered the Space-Era. I wish to congratulate all those scientists and institutions that were involved right from the development to its launching thereby enhancing the prestige of our country."

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Nepal has proposed a bill that foreign broadcasters can only air their channels without advertisements.

The regulation has reportedly been endorsed by the National Assembly (Upper House) and will next be tabled in the House of Representatives (Lower House).

Most of Nepal's homes watch Indian TV channels, besides a handful of local Nepalise channels.

The bill has raised concerns by Indian broadcasters, who point out that the Nepal is a tiny market for TV channels, yielding very low ARPU. As a result, Indian broadcasters will have to deauthorise their feeds for reception in Nepal.

Indian FTA will continue to be received and distributed in Nepal - albeit illegally.

The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) has written to the I&B & External Affairs ministries, pointing out that its members may be forced to switch off their channels in Nepal, which in turn could lead to rampant piracy of content. It added "We would like to state that it is not commercially viable for our member broadcasters to have a separate clean feed (without ads) specific to Nepal."

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Even as the Indian elections are on, viewers prefer to watch the Indian Premier League.

Star Sports 1 Hindi, has emerged as the most watched TV channel across all genres, according to BARC's ratings for Week 15 (April 6-12).

Hindi FTA channel - Dangal TV has been pushed to second position.

Star Spots First was number 3.

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Sun Direct's net profit for the 9 months in FY19 has fallen to ₹ 5.92 crore compared to ₹ 45.27 crore in FY18.

The net profit fell on account of increased subscriber acquisition cost and other costs.

Sun Direct uses 13 transponders - 9 on MeaSat + 4 on GSAT. Of these 1 MeaSat transponder was added in FY19.

Sun Direct is also shifting to HEVC encoding as against MPEG 4 encoding used earlier. This will help increase its channel count which currently stands at 341 SD channels + 67 HD channels.

Sun Direct focuses its operations primarily in the Southern region, delivering South Indian channels only, thus reducing transponder costs.

Sun Direct commenced operations in Dec 2007, promoted by Kalanithi Maran and his wife Kaveri Kalanithi who together hold 80% stake. South Asia Entertainment Holding Ltd (SAEHL), a 100% subsidiary of Astro All Asia Networks Plc, holds the remaining 20% stake. Astro is a leading DTH operator in Malaysia.

The company had accumulated losses of ₹ 2,706.75 crore and hence net worth continues to remain negative.

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The All India Digital Cable federation (AIDCF), the apex body of DAS MSOs has made SN Sharma, CEO, Den Networks, as its new president form April 1st.

Sharma replaces Rajan Gupta, whose term expired on March 31st.

AIDCF interacts with ministries, policy makers, regulators, financial institutions and technical bodies, putting forward the views of DAS MSOs. Members of AIDCF have a market share of more than 75% in the Cable TV.

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Former ESPN Star Sports MD, Manu Sawhney has taken charge as the Chief Executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and will work alongside Dave Richardson, who will step down after the World Cup in July.

"Technology, engagement, women's cricket and driving greater value are key focus areas for us as we consider how we can innovate to transform the sport's long-term future and create a vibrant and sustainable sport globally," said Sawhney.

Sawhney was with ESPN Star Sports for 17 years and was responsible for scaling the business and doubling annual revenues.

He is also a non-executive director and member of the Audit Committee of Manchester United Ltd.

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Over the top (OTT) platform Jio TV has added 4 new movie channels - Jio Bollywood Premium HD, Jio Bollywood Classic HD, Jio Tamil Hits HD, and Jio Telugu Hits HD.

Jio Bollywood will offer the latest Hindi movies in HD quality while Jio Bollywood Classic will stream popular Hindi classics.

With these latest additions, Jio TV now offers a total of 16 Jio-branded channels on its app.

Recently, Reliance Jio updated the Jio TV Android app to introduce the Picture-in-Picture (PiP) mode, for devices that run Android Oreo or above. Te PiP mode allows a user to watch TV is a small floating window while using other apps like WhatsApp and Chrome.

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A fund of SAIF Partners has moved the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) with a contempt case against venture capitalist Srini Raju and others, accusing them of selling TV9 and violating interim orders of the tribunal.

On 4 Sept 2018, the Tribunal had passed an order restraining Associated Broadcasting Company (ABCL), the operator of the TV9 bouquet of satellite television channels, from selling its shares or assets until further directive from the bankruptcy court.

Raju has denied any wrongdoing or violation of interim orders, claiming that he had completed the stake sale before the bankruptcy court passed the interim orders.

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Synamedia acquired NDS & its VideoGuard encryption solution from CISCO and is today, the world's largest independent video software provider.

Airtel DTH has renewed its association with Synamedia vide a new multi-year contract, building on their 12-year partnership. Synamedia will work closely with Airtel on enhancements to its multi-lingual EPG and additional features and functionality.

Airtel will continue to use Synamedia VideoGuard to protect its content delivered to 16 million Airtel DTH subscribers, and manage and monetize premium experiences on set-top boxes using Synamedia's Foundation platform. This allows Airtel to roll out new premium services to customers without compromising on security.

Sue Couto, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Asia Pacific for Synamedia, added, "Airtel is an acknowledged leader in the fast-growing Indian Pay-TV market and we look forward to continuing our long-term partnership with Airtel, as we collaborate on technologies and solutions that will help to shape the future of TV in India and beyond."

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