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November 2017


Anil Ambani run Reliance DTH will shut operations permanently, on 18th November 2017.

"Reliance Digital TV informs its customers that due to the expiry of our licence we will be shutting down our DTH services across India wef 18 November. Customers are advised to make alternative arrangements to keep watching their favourite TV channels. We regret the inconvenience caused," Reliance Big TV said in its notice.

Reliance DTH has just 2% market share (approx 1.3 Million active subscribers) and its numbers had not grown for over 1 year.

The debt laden RCom, had been trying to sell its DTH operations, but there were no takers. Reportedly, talks to sell to SUN DTH also failed. Reeling under ₹ 45,000 crore debt, RCom has committed to cut its debt by 60% by September and 80% by December 2017.

In October 2017, the TDSAT instructed RCom to pay ₹ 7.5 Crores immediately to Antrix for DTH transponder rentals.

The DTH space is rapidly consolidating. Videocon d2h has merged with Dish TV and talks are reportedly on between TataSky & Airtel DTH for a merger / buyout, even though such moves violate the TRAI's recommendations on limiting market share to 30% to avoid establishing monopolies.

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According to, Mukesh Ambani friendly firms have acquired majority control in NDTV.

The report says that Reliance Industries head Mukesh Ambani now owns more than 51% of the NDTV shares through his associated companies and trading funds. NDTV's shares have risen from ₹ 39 in September to ₹ 72 on 11 October 2017.

Three months ago, NDTV founder Prannoy Roy and wife Radhika Roy and their company RRPR (Radhika Roy Prannoy Roy) held approximately 29%, Mukesh Ambani associated companies own around 35% to 38% after investing ₹ 403.85 crores in early 2010, (as established by the Nira Radia tapes), according to the same website report.

The balance 32% shares were held by 40,000 shareholders. Apparently these shares have been mopped up from the market by Mukesh Ambani friendly or associated operators, increasing M Ambani's stake to above 51% in NDTV.

Mukesh Ambani has extensive interests in media. He already controls many channels including CNN-IBN, Network 18 channels in almost all regional languages, a stake in Rajat Sharma's India TV, News Nation and Congress leader and Cricket administrator Rajiv Shukla's News 24 group of channels. This list would give Lord Hanuman's tail a run for its money.

NDTV's current financials are precarious. NDTV is liable to pay ₹ 525 crores as Income Tax fine for frauds in Money Laundering, facing a FEMA case for ₹ 2030 crores frauds and a PMLA case is on the anvil by the ED. Further, Prannoy Roy is facing a CBI case for ICICI Bank fraud and subsequent PMLA case.

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Star India will shut down Channel V, on 15 November 2017, it has been reliably learnt.

Channel V started off as a music channel. However, music channels are low cost to operate, resulting in a flood of alternates from small players. Channel V could not differentiate itself from the crowd, and in 2012 it positioned itself as a youth GEC with fiction content. In 2016, it again went back to music - this time with a mix of Indian and international music videos. It has failed to establish itself over wellentrenched players like Mastii, B4U Music, and 9XM.

The Channel V license will be used to launch Star Sports 1 Kannada, on 16th November 2017.

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The India Today group has launched 7 TV channels that will be available exclusively on mobile phones. they are: Yoga Tak, Food Tak, Life Tak, Tech Tak, Astro Tak, Sports Tak, and News Tak. Rajdeep Sardesai will appear frequently on News Tak, which will carry hourly headlines.

India Today group already has an online presence, and the new channels will offer atleast limited interactivity, with 150 videos available on demand at launch.

The channels can be downloaded from

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I&B minister Smriti Irani has called for an accurate Viewer Measurement Systems that "reflects the strength of regional languages, varied tastes of viewers/consumers and bridges the divide on issues related to agenda setting, creative content, and revenue between the mainstream and regional platforms."

She said this while delivering the Sardar Patel Memorial Lecture 2017 on "Model for Broadcast landscape for Democracies".

Talking of the prevailing trends in the News segment of the broadcasting landscape, Irani said that news today had become a "Spectator Sport" driven by the rush for TRP's.

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Reliance Jio Infocomm's Over The Top (OTT) platform Jio TV now offers 513 TV channels, making it the largest OTT platform in India.

The 513 channels include 423 Standard Definition (SD) channels & 90 High Definition (HD) channels.

This makes Jio TV the second biggest content distribution platform after Tata Sky twhich offers 577 TV channels.

Jio TV is part of Reliance Jio Digital Services, which also offers other media apps like Jio Cinema, Jio Newspaper and Jio Mags. All these apps are available free to Jio mobile customers.

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ZEEL is rebranding Hindi GEC Big Magic by renaming it as 'Zee Magic.'

In November 2016, ZEEL had acquired Reliance Broadcast Networks Ltd's (RBNL) TV broadcast business for a consideration of ₹ 298.4 crore. The deal gave ZEEL ownership of 2 entertainment channels, Big Magic and Big Ganga, and four additional TV channel licences.

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GTPL Hathway has told TDSAT that it wants to subscribe to content from IndiaCast Media Distribution, as per the TRAI's Reference Interconnect Offer (RIO), and not as per IndiaCast's agreement. It has requested the shift from 1 November. GTPL said it wanted to exit the subscription agreement, since IndiaCast is not willing to enter into any placement agreement. IndiaCast is the TV distribution arm of TV18 and Viacom18.

IndiaCast responded that it will shift after its claimed arrears are paid.

The TDSAT rejected IndiaCast's demand, pointing out that arrears may require adjudication.

Further hearings will continue on November 3.

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Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) has entered into an agreement with Sony Pictures Television (SPT), where Sony movies will first be viewed on Zee pay Channels (and not on the Sony network).

The deal includes movies like Spider-Man: Homecoming, Blade Runner 2049, Baby Driver, The Emoji Movie and Life, among others.

"It is our endeavour to become a formidable player within the English entertainment space in India, and this deal with SPT, will help us become the number one choice for movie lovers," said ZEEL business cluster head premium and FTA GEC Aparna Bhosle.

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The TRAI has scheduled an open house discussion on digital radio broadcasting based on a paper issued by it on 10 July this year.

The Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) has strongly urged the government to declare a road map and 15 year time-line to shift All-India Radio medium wave & short wave transmissions to Digital radio's DRM standard.

DRM Consortium - India head Yogendra Pal, in his detailed response, said that the existing analogue transmission equipment (both AM and FM) can be upgraded to DRM operation, reducing initial setup cost, and increasing reception radius.

However, for consumers it will be a huge concern, as all AM, FM home and Car radios will become useless.

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DD Prakriti, an exclusive indigenous nature channel aimed at promoting nature conservation films in India and by Indians, is likely to start in 2018 and continue through the period of the National Wildlife Action Plan (NWAP) that is effective till 2031.

The third-NWAP (2017- 2031), which was released by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) this month, has recommended the setting up of a TV channel "DDPrakriti" in collaboration with the MIB & and Doordarshan, for promoting awareness about nature conservation in the country.

"Instead of only consuming Discovery Channel and National Geographic that largely comes to us from outside India, this is a step towards promoting nature films made by Indians and there is a lot of material already to work with," National Wildlife Board member and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) CEO, Vivek Menon, told the press. "Channels like Nat Geo and Discovery do have a large viewership, so Indians are interested in watching and learning about nature," he added.

Can Doordarshan sustain such a channel with quality content, in an area that is not its expertise?

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