January 2017


Seven months after signing an agreement to buy out Chef Sanjeev Kapoor's FoodFood channel, Discovery Communications has decided to walk out on the deal.

Turmeric Vision, the company which owns and operates FoodFood, is held 80% by Kapoor and 20% by Goyal.

Earlier, Astro held 73% stake in Turmeric Vision, which it exited, transferring its stake to Kapoor & Goyal. This was the first step in Discovery buying out the channel.

Discovery was to now buy out Goyal and acquire 54% stake from Kapoor. Discovery would then own 74% & Kapoor 26%.

Discovery did not explain why it was calling off the acquisition.

... Back to News Headlines


India had 281 pay channels as on 30 September, Minister of State in the MIB Rajyavardhan Rathore told the Lok Sabha.

Rathore also stated that there were 892 licensed private satellite TV channels and 81 teleports.

... Back to News Headlines


A consortium of 9 Kolkata LCOs have grouped together to establish a new MSO - Bengal Broadband and Cable TV Services.

The new MSO will compete with Siti Networks, Hathway Cable & Datacom, GTPL and Manthan, in Kolkata, North & South 24 Parganas, Burdwan, Birbhum, Nadia and Murshidabad markets.

"Our business has suffered after digitisation. MSOs have been squeezing local cable operators. DTH has also been capturing the market. We are launching our digital services to secure our future," Bengal Broadband & Cable TV Services MD, Mrinal Chatterjee told the press.

The 31 additional LCOs have switched to the new MSO - mostly from Siti. They have brought with them, 50,000 subscribers.

The new MSO is offering STBs at a subsidised price. A standard definition STB is priced at Rs. 600 & a HD STB at Rs. 1,250.

The base pack is priced at Rs. 280 and premium pack at Rs. 380 (inclusive of taxes). For 50 HD channels, customers pay Rs. 150 extra.

Break away networks are not new to Kolkata. In the analog era, Manthan was formed in 2002 after operators broke away from RPG Netcom. In 2006, a group of breakaway operators similarly formed KCBPL that later joined hands with GTPL.

... Back to News Headlines


Only 3 educational television channels of the 32 proposed by the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry are currently carried on Doordarshan's FreeDish Ku band platform.

FreeDish currently is capacity constrained to only 80 channels. This will get significantly expanded after it commences its MPEG-4 channels.

Several DTH platforms are currently providing free carriage to these educational channels. The HRD Ministry had also requested cable operators to carry these educational channels, but their carriage is not compulsory, on either Cable TV or DTH platforms.

... Back to News Headlines


MCBS received 'Entrepreneur of the Year-2016 India' award presented to Mr. Gyanchand Jain for excellence, on the occasion of 5th National Seminar on "National Economic Growth Through I n d i v i d u a l Contribution."

Mr.Jain is CMD of MCBS Pvt Ltd. Gandhinagar, manufacturing Ku Band Antennae, STBs, CCTV, A/V products etc for past 30 years.

The award & certificate were received by Mr. Manish Jain, Director of this unit, at Mumbai in a seminar held at Hotel Kohinoor.

... Back to News Headlines


The I&B ministry has conveyed to all TV channels & teleports that licenses for uplink and/or downlink expiring in 2017 should be renewed 6 months prior to the expiry date.

MIB has put out a list of 53 TV channels and six teleports whose licenses expire at various times during 2017.

The companies are required to apply for renewal of license along with relevant documents, including details of the company, shareholding patterns and foreign investments, for various government organizations like MIB and Ministry of Home Affairs to scrutinize the documents for renewal of licenses. Renewal will also depend on companies concerned agreeing to and updated guidelines relating to uplink and downlink.

... Back to News Headlines


The I&B ministry has asked 194 TV to provide their downlink (reception) parameters and in the case of encrypted channels, an SDI output IRD for each channel.

This will be used by the EMMC (Electronic Media Monitoring Centre) which monitors and records the content of TV channels.

The EMMC has been expanded to monitor and record a larger number of TV channels, hence the request for reception equipment from channels not currently being monitored.

... Back to News Headlines


The TDSAT has allowed the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) and Videocon d2h to join the case that has challenged the TRAI's "Twin Conditions" clause for a la carte pricing of Pay channels. ZEEL is the main petitioner in the case against the TRAI.

Meanwhile, the tribunal granted ZEEL counsel Upender Thakur and Star India counsel Shilpa Gupta 3 weeks to file rejoinders to the reply filed by TRAI. The matter has been put up for its next hearing on 6 January 2017.

The "Twin Conditions" notified by TRAI in December 2015 states that

(a) The a la carte rate cannot exceed 2 times its RIO; and

(b) The sum of a la carte rates of all the channels in the bouquet cannot exceed 3 times the bouquet rate.

... Back to News Headlines


The TRAI has recommended to the government that the Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF) be used to provide 100 MB per month free data to rural mobile phone subscribers. This will help bridge the gap for the rural poor to move towards a cashless society.

The USOF is created by a 5% levy on adjusted gross revenue of all telecom companies. The fund is supposed to be utilised for setting up telecom infrastructure in all uncovered rural and remote areas of the country. It has however been under-utilised. The USOF stood at Rs. 47,167 Crore in October 2016.

The TRAI reckons that the cost to provide 100 MB free data to about 50 million smart phone users in rural areas for a year would come to about Rs. 600 crore, at current tariff rates, and could even be lower, given the sharp decline expected in data prices, and bulk volumes.

The recommendation is part of the TRAI's considered response to its paper on free data issued in May 2016, to explore ways of providing mobile Internet to consumers for free without violating a ban on discriminatory pricing of data services.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will now need to consider these recommendations and take a final decision.

... Back to News Headlines


The TRAI has recommended an aggregator model to provide free data to mobile phone users, while maintaining net neutrality.

The aggregator will be a third party, offering schemes that are not linked to any telco, nondiscriminatory in their implementation and do not circumvent rules that have barred discriminatory pricing of data services. Any scheme provided by the aggregator must not involve any arrangement between the carrier and the aggregator or content provider.

The aggregator must register with DoT and be registered under the Indian Companies Act, 1956. It cannot directly or indirectly, assign or transfer the registration to a third party, even partially. The registration will be valid for 5 years.

... Back to News Headlines


As part of plans to consolidate multiple tribunals, the government is considering merging the Cyber Appellate Tribunal (CyAT) & TDSAT. Cabinet note may be issued shortly, if the government decides to go ahead with the merger.

CyAT adjudicates matter related to Information Technology. Its role is significant today as the government pushes digital payments. CyAT, however, has been headless since July 2011.

"I have been raising this issue of vacancy in Parliament since 2012 but people have not taken issue of cyber-crime and cyber disputes seriously. It is now that the government is proposing to merge CyAT with TDSAT which is good. Instead of keeping it vacant, it will be start functioning," said Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar.

Seeking to cut red tape, an interministerial group of secretaries has "unanimously" agreed to reduce the number of tribunals from 36 to 18 as the government feels that most of these bodies are performing "identical functions". As of now, the tribunals are handled by various ministries. The plan as suggested by the Supreme Court, years ago is that the Department of Legal Affairs in the Law ministry will be the nodal agency for administration of various tribunals.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recently voiced concern over the low rate of disposal of cases by tribunals & said there was a need to ascertain whether these institutions were delivering justice or were acting as a "barrier" in it.

... Back to News Headlines