March 2018


Doordarshan's plans to launch the DD Arun Prabha channel have been reported since November 2016, but the channel has not yet launched.

February 2018 reports also indicated that PM Narendra Modi would launch DD Arun Prabha on February 15, a new 24x7 satellite television channel by Doordarshan for the north-eastern region. However, the channel was not launched, and continues as 'test transmissions'.

DD Arun Prabha is to be Doordarshan's second channel for the north-eastern region. The state-owned broadcaster already runs DD North-East, which telecasts entertainment and information-based programmes in Assamese, Bengali, English and other languages of the region.

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The TDSAT has decided to expedite the hearings and verdict on the TRAI's landing page directive.

The matter has been listed for 6 March 2018, and will be heard uninterrupted over multiple days if necessary.

The interim order restraining TRAI from giving effect to its 8 November direction will continue till a final verdict is declared.

The TRAI had directed that no Distribution Platform Operators (DPOs) can put channels on the landing page as it is against the regulation, which states that a channel can only be placed in 1 genre.

Bennett Coleman and Company Ltd (BCCL), All India Digital Cable Federation, DEN Networks, Fastway Transmission and Satellite Channels have challenged the TRAI order on 2 grounds: the TRAI did not have the jurisdiction & the authority did not invite opinions and base its decision in a transparent manner.

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Discovery Communications India's Hindi GEC 'JEET' which launched on 12 February 2018, has been received well by viewers.

According to Chrome DM data on 13 February 2018, Jeet secured high launch numbers with a Day Two OTS of 87.1% across urban Hindi-speaking markets. The channel's OTS was around 20% higher than the recent debut of Arnab Goswami led- Republic, which stood at 66.9% during its launch in Week 20 of 2017.

Chrome Data analytics and media CEO and founder Pankaj Krishna said, "Discovery Jeet has made an unprecedented debut in the history of Indian television. With the Naaptol tie-up and multiple landing pages, Jeet has had a phenomenal launch."•

"We have tied up with home-shopping channel Naaptol, which is a popular landing page on most MSOs. Naaptol shows two hours of snippety Jeet content everyday between its own content," explained Discovery Networks Asia Pacific senior VP & head affiliate sales Vijay Rajput.

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Press reports indicate that many advertisers are turn their backs on the ₹ 10 Lakhs per 10 second ad demanded by Star India, for ads during the IPL matches.

While Star says it has signed up 11 advertisers for the coming IPL season, many usual names are missing from the list.

Star India won the IPL global media rights against an astronomical bid of ₹ 16,437.5 Crore for 5 years starting with IPL 2018.

It has reportedly set a ₹ 2,000 crore target from TV and digital ad sales in the first year.

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The TDSAT has confirmed that DEN Networks can offer all ZEEL channels as per the Reference Interconnect Offer (RIO), instead of part of a bundle, effective 1 February. This puts all Zee channels on an a-la-carte offer to subscribers, severely restricting their viewership, since the channels will be delivered only against specific request and additional payment.

The TDSAT also said the issue of outstanding dues will be dealt separately.

Zee had rejected DEN's plan for RIO distribution, claiming that DEN's DAS network was not properly operational. However, a subsequent BECIL audit fully approved DEN's Headend & network.

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Hinduja Ventures Ltd (HVL) has appointed Ashok Mansukhani as Managing Director, for a 2 year term, from April 2018. He is currently a whole-time director. Mansukhani is also a director in IMCL, Grant Investrade, Planet E-Shop Holdings India and In Entertainment India.

HVL is the parent company of Cable TV & HITS company IndusInd Media and Communications Ltd (IMCL).

Mansukhani has a Masters in English Literature from Delhi University & an LLB from KC Law College, Bombay University.

After a distinguished career in central government as an Indian Revenue Service Officer for 22 years, he joined the Hinduja Group in 1996 and has handled various senior responsibilities in the Group.

Mansukhani has been the past president of the MSO Alliance, which is now the All India Digital Cable Federation (AIDCF).

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The Prasar Bharati board has rejected the I&B ministry's move to appoint an IAS officer as a board Member (Personnel), since the Prasar Bharati Act 1990 does not allow a serving bureaucrat to be appointed in this position.

The MIB has suggested "Based on suggestion of manpower audit, some tough decisions may have to be taken in Prasar Bharati. An IAS officer could be an asset in such circumstances. It is proposed that for at least 1 term the post of Member (Personnel) be filled up by an IAS officer keeping the relevant recruitment provision in abeyance."

Prasar Bharati is an autonomous body and the ministry cannot dictate whom to appoint in the board. "Such a crucial position should be headed by a professional. The ministry is trying to undermine the autonomy of the organisation," according to a source.

Prasar Bharati has also rejected the proposal to appoint 2 journalists - Siddharth Zarabi to head TV News for DD News & Abhijit Majumder as the Chief Editor - Prasar Bharati News Service, as the proposed annual salaries were exorbitant - ₹ 1 crore for Zarabi & ₹ 75 lakh for Majumder. The highest paid to contractuals is ₹ 1.6 Lakhs a month.

The Prasar Bharati board also asked the I&B ministry to restart FreeDish auctions, stalled by MIB since August 2017. This has resulted in a loss of ₹ 390 Crore.

The PB board also 'strongly objected' to the tone of an MIB directive asking Prasar Bharati to terminate the services of some contractual appointees.

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Following instructions from the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the West Bengal state government will lay underground cables for the transmission of TV & internet services across the 126 municipalities & 6 municipal corporations. The project will be overseen by the State Government's Urban Development and Municipal Affairs Department. The initiative is under the newly-introduced scheme, Green City Mission, which aims at developing sustainable and eco-friendly 'Green and Clean Cities' and planned development of all the municipal cities and towns of Bengal.

Micro-tunnelling will be used to lay the cables.

Meetings have been called with MSOs, LCOs & telecom firms, to receive their suggestions & explain to them the government's stand.

It has been decided that a certain amount of money would have to be paid by them in lieu of the work to be done by the government.

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An audit by the Indian Institute of Mass Communications (IIMC) has revealed that the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting's compliance of the new guidelines on Suo-motu disclosure is partial and incomplete.

The Suo-motu disclosure under Section 4(2) of the RTI Act, 2005 requires every public authority to take steps to provide as much information suo-motu to the public at regular intervals so that the public have minimum resort to use the Act to obtain information.

According to the IIMC report "Audit of Proactive Disclosure of Information - Ministry of Information & Broadcasting", the ministry's disclosure in 17 categories like organisation, powers of officers, and functioning of the organisation, are incomplete.

The ministry is also non-complaint with the mandate of providing information in Hindi and vernacular languages. Even the info provided in English is incomplete.

IIMC has recommended that the MIB proactively disclose information as per the Guidelines issued by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), the website must indicate "Date last updated" and news from the past 15 days be put up as "Whats New".

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The TRAI has submitted its inputs on the National Telecom Policy (NTP) 2018.

Despite objections by TV broadcasters, TRAI has reiterated that it should regulate both - Broadcasting & Information Communication Technology (ICT). Broadcast services using converged wireline & wireless networks should be permitted.

Also, NTP 2018 should be renamed Information & Communication Technology Policy 2018.

In its recommendations, TRAI has suggested that 90% of the population should have access to wireless broadband services at affordable prices (including via satellite) by 2022.

Further, cable TV and optical fibre networks must reach 30% households by 2020 & 50% households by 2022. All Gram Panchayats must receive data at atleast 1 Gbps by 2022.

Other suggestions include 900 million broadband subscriptions @ 2 Mbps, of which at least 150 million broadband subscriptions supporting download speed of 20 Mbps and 25 million at a download speed of 50 Mbps by 2022.

2 million public WLAN including Wi-Fi hotspots countrywide by 2020 & 5 million by 2022.

The New policy should be formulated to attract an investment of $60 billion in the communication sector by 2020 & $100 billion by 2022 with 2 million additional jobs in ICT by 2022.

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Pantel Technologies, which has acquired RCom's DTH platform, has committed to the TDSAT that it will settle the claims of all the broadcasters within 4 weeks.

Reliance Big TV owes more than ₹ 100 crore to broadcasters like Star India, ZEEL, Sony Pictures Networks India, TV18, Viacom18, Sun TV, and Discovery Communications India.

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