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January 2019


Insight Media City, which owns and operates Malayalam GEC Flowers TV, launched Malayalam news channel '24 News' on 8 December.

The Malyalam new market is already served by Asianet News, Manorama News, Mathrubhumi News, News18 Kerala, Jaihind TV, People TV, Reporter TV, and Janam TV.

Insight Media City was established in March 2013, as part of the plan to making Kochi into a media hub.

The company runs its TV broadcasting business through wholly-owned-subsidiary Suryansh Broadcasting.

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The TDSAT once again adjourned the Prasar Bharati vs Cinema 24x7 case to 29 January after DD submitted that that it is close to finalising a new policy for sale of slots on FreeDish.

Cinema 24x7 had moved TDSAT in September 2017 against DD's decision to stop slot auctions without declaring an alternative plan to allow existing channels to continue on FreeDish. Several other broadcasters whose contracts had ended, also impleaded themselves in the case.

TDSAT's interim order has been that channels whose contracts have expired should be allowed to continue on a pro-rata, either on the basis of the reserved price or the highest bid amount (in that category in the preceding year), whichever is higher.

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The I&B ministry through the Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Limited (BECIL) organised a conference to discuss various issues and seek views about feasibility, affordability for delivering broadband services through Cable TV Networks.

The meeting was chaired by the Amit Khare Secretary - MIB.

Issues discussed included willingness of the operators to invest; payment of 8% Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) to DoT, etc.

Khare acknowledged the issues raised with regards to licensing, right of way, technology and Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR). About AGR, he said that both businesses are separate and only that part of revenue should be taxed which is coming from taxable services. However, despite the same having been said repeatedly for several years, no specific solution or deadline was committed.

Participants included personnel from major MSOs, officials from I&B, DoT, TRAI & BECIL.

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Independent TV, Anil Ambani's DTH platform that has been sold to new owners and re-branded, now faces a demand from DoT for spectrum charges, before its application for a DTH license is considered.

"It appears that till that issue is settled either finally or through an interim order, the petitioner's prayer for the issuance of licence in its name may not receive favourable consideration by MIB. This is subject to instructions given by MIB," the TDSAT said in its order.

The TDSAT pointed out that Independent TV has been paying spectrum charges as per its own calculation and the higher claim by DoT is on account of a dispute over AGR - an issue pending adjudication at TDSAT because of the pendency of the same issue before the Supreme Court.

Directing the DoT, DoS, and MIB to file a suitable reply or status report within 3 weeks, the TDSAT said the interim arrangement will continue till the next hearing.

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The MIB & Department of Space (DoS) have prepared a joint action to look into the issues of broadcasters, for migration of TV channel transmission from foreign to Indian satellites.

I&B minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore confirmed this to the post office.

Rathore also said that whenever transponder capacity is available on Indian satellites, channel operators using foreign satellites are asked to migrate to Indian transponders, as per the "Policy Framework for Satellite Communication in India."

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ZEEL shut down 2 channels: Z Living and Living Rootz on 28 December 2018, a day before the new tariff order & MRPs kicked in on 29 December. The broadcaster has issued a public notice stating that the transmission of the two channels will be discontinued.

The 2 channels are part of ZEEL subsidiary Living Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (LEEL). Living Entertainment's flagship channel is Living Foodz. It has also received licence to launch Living Travelz.

ZEEL has declared the pricing for the 2 new 'Living' channels: Living Travelz and Living Zen.

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Doordarshan (DD) and All India Radio (AIR) are embarking on a ₹ 850 crore plan to improve their infrastructure, expand coverage and strengthen content in an attempt to compete better with private television channels and radio stations. The outlay has been approved by the finance ministry, across financial years 2018-19 and 2019-20.

Of this, DD has been sanctioned ₹ 200 crore exclusively for overhauling its content.

DD, which runs 23 channels in the country, earned ₹ 318.06 crore from government advertisements and just ₹ 157.59 crore from corporate ads during FY ended 31 March, 2017.

The TV advertising market with close to 900 private TV channels generated an estimated advertising revenue of ₹ 27,671 crore. The figure was expected to grow 13% in 2018, according to a forecasts.

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Prasar Bharati has finally undertaken a manpower and resource rationalisation audit, recommended by the Sam Pitroda committee in 2014.

Ernst and Young has been commissioned to conduct the audit, in approximately 6 months. A mid-term assessment of the progress will also be conducted after 3 months.

The resource rationalisation is likely to include winding up of offices located in proximity to each other, closure of the civil construction wing of the All India Radio, shut down of the National Academy of Broadcasting and Multimedia (but not its training programmes) and merging it with the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC)

Interestingly, since its inception, Prasar Bharati has never undertaken a study to assess the viability of its channels.

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Tata Sky has partnered Zee Theatre to launch a 24-hour ad-free (local) channel on the DTH platform, providing its subscribers acclaimed plays and performances from the finest theatre groups on television.

The local channel priced at ₹ 75 per month, offers over 100 plays from genres that span musicals, period drama, social satire, romantic comedy, crime drama, etc.

The service primarily offers Plays in Hindi and English language.

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