July 2017


The MIB has granted an additional month to the Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation, to digitise completely. It had earlier received a 3 month window. That original period is to expire on 17 July 2017.

The principal secretary of the Tamil Nadu government had, in a letter dated 6 June 2017, sought 3 more months, but only 1 month has been granted by the MIB vide its letter dated 21 June. TACTV has been asked to complete the digitisation process by 17 August 2017 failing which "the provisional registration may be suspended/revoked."

TACTV official say they will commence signals from their Headend by the 17 August deadline. (However, providing 7 million DAS STBs to all their customers in a month, seems an impossible task -Ed.)

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Similar to other DTH players, Airtel Digital TV (DTH) subscriber growth at just 228,000 net new subscribers in the quarter ending March 2017, was 63% lower than in the same period a year ago.

Airtel DTH had 12.815 million subs, end March 2017, up from 11.725 a year ago.

ARPU fell by ₹ 1 to ₹ 228.

Q-4 revenue at ₹ 865.7 crore was almost the same as Q-3.

The company incurred a capital expenditure of ₹ 138.6 crore.

Airtel Digital TV offers 588 channels including 65 HD channels, 5 international channels & 5 interactive services.

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Hard to believe but true, DD's English News channel is more widely watched than either Times Now or Republic TV!

English news channels hardly reach around 4 million in a population of over 1.2 billion Indians.

According to the BARC data for 10 to 16 June 2017, 34.2% educated & highincome group male viewers of age-group 22 and above in cities with a population of 10 lakh or more, watched DD English News, compared to 28.2% for Times Now & 17.9% for Republic TV.

The BARC data for that week showed that 58% of the total viewers, both male and female, of ages 15 or above in rural and urban areas watched DD News when it showed English bulletin. All the other English News channels put together had a smaller share of just 42%.

The viewer verdict seems clear - they prefer to watch news clips, rather than screaming debates, which are far cheaper to produce.

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The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed Fastway Transmissions and Global Communication Network to refund money charged as security and provide free cable TV for 1 year to a Sector 41 resident for charging to transfer the connection when the policy stated that it is not to be paid. In her complaint Sonia stated that she had taken cable connection from them while she was residing at Dhanas, Chandigarh and requested a transfer when she relocated to a new house.

On December 7, 2016, Global Communication Network transferred the connection of the complainant at her new house but charged ₹ 550 as transfer charges and ₹ 100 as installation charges, whereas Fastway had assured that there will be no transfer/shifting charges. When the complainant did not pay the transfer charges, the cable operator disconnected the connection. The matter was reported to Fastway but to no effect and ultimately, to get the connection restored, the complainant was forced to pay ₹ 550 as transfer charges and ₹ 100 as installation charges to Global Communication Network.

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Responding to the TRAI's paper 'Ease of doing business in broadcasting sector, Dish TV & Tata Sky said that the NOCC and WPC charges paid by DTH operators should be rationalised.

Both WPC and NOCC charge a substantial amount (NOCC - ₹ 60,000 per MHz per annum and WPC ₹ 90,000 per MHz per annum) for providing clearances and the permission to broadcast. These are purely administrative services, & the fees should be nominal to cover costs incurred by the respective departments. The permission to provide these services is in fact paid for by the substantial annual DTH license fee.

Dish TV has called for the NOCC fee to be scrapped. NOCC monitors transmissions, but since some DTH platforms operate from foreign satellites, the NOCC has no role to play, according to DishTV.

Dish TV once again submitted that the DTH operators must be allowed to directly enter into commercial negotiations with foreign satellite operators without having to go through Antrix Corporation.

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Star India has postponed the shut-down of its HD English entertainment channel FX HD to 20 July.

It is also planning to launch Star Gold Select SD in place of Star Movies Action, in the same time frame.

The launch date of Star Gold Select SD has not been finalised. The channel's HD version has been launched in March.

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The MIB has issued 37 new MSO licences between 9 May and 11 June. 6 were for Karnataka, 5 each to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, 4 to Odisha, 2 to Tamil Nadu, 3 to Gujarat & the rest to Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal and Delhi.

The ministry also cancelled/ closed 13 MSO registrations due to incomplete applications and missing documents.

The new licences take the total DAS MSO count to 1,421.

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Dish TV hopes to add 1.3 million net, new subscribers this fiscal. Last fiscal, it had gained 1.02 million net subscribers.

The 6 private DTH companies added 11 million subscribers in FY17 compared to 11.6 million new customers in the preceding year.

Dish TV's annual ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) in FY17 was ₹ 154 compared to ₹ 157 a year.

Its capital expenditure is projected to rise in FY18 while operating profit margin is expected to fall slightly to 35%.

Subscriber acquisition cost (SAC) has reduced to ₹ 1,680 versus ₹ 1800-1900 over the last 2 years.

Dish TV's gross debt stood at ₹ 1,140 crore and net debt at ₹ 685 crore as of 31 March 2017.

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After suspending internet services in the immediate aftermath of the June 17 firing that claimed the lives of three Gorkhaland supporters, on 22 June, the Darjeeling district administration also blacked out local and regional television channels.

In an official statement, Darjeeling district magistrate Joyoshi Dasgupta said, "Public emergency has risen, which necessitated immediate action and speedy remedy for the maintenance of public tranquillity." Dasgupta said these restrictions, unless revoked or modified, will be valid till June 27.

However, no restriction was imposed on voice calls.

The list of communication channels blacked out includes all telecom service providers in the district and cable channels based both in the hills and in the plains of Siliguri. The channels include Sikkim-based ABN News Network, Kurseong TV, and CCN Network.

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IAS officer and culture secretary N K Sinha will take over as the secretary in the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.

The existing secretary - Ajay Mittal has been shifted as secretary DoPT.

Fifteen new secretaries have been appointed to various central departments as part of a major bureaucratic reshuffle.

Ajay Prakash Sawhney, will be the new Electronics & IT Secretary. He was earlier Additional Secretary in the Petroleum Ministry.

Aruna Sundarajan who was Secretary, Electronics and Information Technology, has been appointed telecom secretary.

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According to Bloomberg, Ericsson has retained Morgan Stanley to investigate the sale of the company's media solutions business & has also hired Goldman Sachs to look for possible buyers.

In April Ericsson reported an operating loss for its media businesses & Ericsson AB's credit rating has been heavily cut by Moody's. Ericsson's new CEO, Börje Ekholm, has said he wants to focus on networks, digital services and the internet of things.

It is not clear whether digital services will include Ericsson's vast media business, which the company has built up over the years through a series of acquisitions. The unit includes the former Tandberg TV, Red Bee Media, play out businesses in the Netherlands and France, and Microsoft Mediaroom, as well as video processing software and video delivery hardware.

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