May 2017


The TRAI has issued a pre-consultation paper on the ease of doing business in the TV broadcasting sector in India. the aims is to review various policy & procedural issues as well as bottlenecks that could be changed to create a business friendly environment in the sector. Certain old laws and restrictions may also need to be relooked in view of technology advancement over the past years.

Comments are sought from stakeholders by 8 May.

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Justice Govind Rajan has recused himself from STAR TV's case in the madras High Court, challenging the TRAI's powers to regulate TV channel subscriptions.

Justice Rajan was appointed after both the earlier judges recused themselves. Unconfirmed reports allege that a letter to the Chief

Justice pointed out that one of the earlier judges had sought help P Chidambaram, for the appointment as a judge to the Madras High Court. P Chidambaram is arguing the case for Star India.

It is not clear why Justice Rajan has recused himself, but speculation is that he is already hearing another TRAI case, and hence recused.

The Chief Justice of the Madras High Court will now have to appoint another judge.

Time is running out, since the TRAI's tariff order comes into force on 1st May and this case was to be concluded before that date. It is not clear if the TRAI Tariff order will be implemented if there is no judgement by end April.

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Capital markets regulator SEBI has approved the proposed merger between Dish TV & Videocon d2h. The TRAI has recommended that against merger of any DTH platforms that will create a new entity with more than 33% market share. According to TRAI's figures, as on end Dec 2016, Dish TV had 15.3 million net subs (25% market share) & Videocon d2h 12.77 million (20% market share).

The DishTV - Videocon d2h merger will create an entity with a market share of over 45%.

DishTV + Videocon d2h Will Have 45% Market Share, Against TRAI's Market Cap Of 33%

It therefore remains to be seen how the Competition Commission of India (CCI) will approve the proposed merger.

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DTH platforms Videocon D2H, TataSky and Airtel are set to launch new STB by May, that will provide Smart TV functionality.

The STBs will have social media, music and content streaming apps, as well as games.

The new connected box will eliminate the need for users to buy a new smart TV or a streaming device such as Google Chromecast and Apple TV. The STB will provide both linear programming as well the option to stream on-demand video and audio.

The STBs will be offered at an upgrade price of approximately Rs. 1,000, for existing users.

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Prasar Bharati will soon revamp DD Kisan, launched on 26 May 2015.

There have been apprehensions about DD Kisan's content. A committee will be formed to look at a programming overhaul. Doordarshan employees who are experts in different fields will be a part of the committee," said a Doordarshan official.

The 5 member committee will include additional director general (finance), additional director general (DD Kisan) and 3 other Doordarshan employees who will be nominated by the chairman of Prasar Bharati.

"Prasar Bharati has also invited programmes from private production houses but there is no committee to select the content," the official added.

Content will be purchased under a Self Finance Commissioning (SFC) scheme to help DD Kisan generate ad revenue.

DD Kisan has been allocated Rs. 80 Crores for 2017-18, Rs. 20 Crores higher than a year ago.

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The TRAI has given its recommendations on voluntary sharing of broadcasting infrastructure.

The I&B minister has however clarified in parliament that the government has not received any formal request from DTH platforms or Cable TV providers to share their infrastructure.

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With Prasar Bharati facing a constant financial crunch and depending on the Centre for its funding, the government is understood to be thinking about selling off parts of its land inventory located in various parts of the country.

The I&B ministry has been advised to go in for "selective monetisation of idle assets and generate much needed revenue" for the Prasar Bharati. The I&B ministry and Prasar Bharati are understood to have completed the process of "inventorisation", or the listing of assets.

Reports are that the I&B ministry is currently under the process of finalising the terms and conditions of of transfer of properties and assets.

This will help Prasar Bharti to be financially independent & operate as an autonomous body.

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Sudarshan TV channel editor Suresh Chavhanke has been arrested for inciting communal hatred by Uttar Pradesh police. He has been booked under Sections 153 A(1), 295A and 505(1)B of the Indian Penal Code and also under section 16 of the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act.

It has been alleged that Sudarshan TV had telecast a programme between 6 & 8 April, in which Chavhanke cconveyed objectionable content, causing communal tension.

Sudarshan News, a satellite TV channel launched on 26 January 2007, is a Hindi news channel based in Uttar Pradesh. Sudarshan TV is among the list of channels which has applied for approval of 2 more channels.

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The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) tabled its annual report in Parliament.

The CVC noted that a total of 724 complaints were registered against the I&B ministry in 2016. This is a huge increase of 67% compared to a year ago.

The I&B minister M Venkaiah Naidu, however, told the Parliament that Prasar Bharati adopts a fair and transparent system for the tendering. These are based on the General Financial Rules (GFR) and Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) guidelines.

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An Indian GSLV-09 rocket will launch the SAARC satellite on May 5.

The 'South Asia Satellite' is India's gift to the SAARC countries. However Pakistan has opted not join the other countries for use of the satellite.

The satellite is also called the GSAT-9, has a liftoff mass of 2,195 kg, & carry 12 Ku-band transponders. It has a projected mission life of 12 years.

It will provide communication, disaster support & connectivity between the participating countries.

There is a potential for each participating country to use a dedicated transponder with a capacity of 36 to 54 MHz for its own internal use, being independent for content generation and its use.


Thamizhaga Cable TV Communication Private Limited (TCCL), a MSO run by cable TV operators launched its Thamizhaga Internet Communications Private Limited ('TIC Fiber') broadband service. TCCL claims support of around 23,000 operators, out of 29,000 cable operators in Tamil Nadu. The state government's Arasu Network does not have a DAS license, and cable operators tied to Arasu are in a quandary.

Nagamanickam I, Director, TCCL, said they already have around 10,000 broadband subscribers, and TCCL also plans to offer IPTV & other Value Added Services in the near future.

Last year, the TN government too launched its 'affordable' broadband service - 'Arasu Fibre' - through the state-owned Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation (TACTV).


In a surprising twist, the 2 judges (Justice Nagamuthu and Justice Anita Sumanth) hearing the Star vs TRAI tariff order petition have recused themselves and asked that the case be heard by other judges.

Reports are that the judges requested the case be transferred out, after an anonymous petition to the Chief Justice claimed that Justice Nagamuthu had sought P Chidambaram's help in becoming the judge.


The Patrika group with a strong presence in print media, launched its TV FTA news channel - Patrica TV Rajasthan, on April 5. Available only in HD, the channel airs news content from 6am to 11pm. Differentiating its content from other news channels, Patrika TV Rajasthan says its will present content in simple yet hard-hitting presentations. The channel promises to be nonpolitical, non-agenda, non- entertainment, serious & responsible.

"Patrika group is known for its idealistic journalism and credibility. We are not here to compete with anyone. We are known for value journalism, and with this ideology, we have launched the news channel," said Patrika Group Vice President, who also heads the channel.

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TRAI chairman RS Sharma said ease of doing business was one of its core focus areas and it would bring some stronger suggestions to the table for the government to formulate policy.

TRAI has floated a consultation paper on how it can facilitate business operations, in the telecom and broadcast sectors. After closed door discussions with industry, the TRAI has identified a few issues inhibiting the growth in these sectors. "The telecom industry has come up with 6-7 issues and a similar number of issues were taken up in the broadcasting sector, and we are working on them simultaneously," RS Sharma said.

"Unlicensed spectrum should be released as per the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) recommendation and telcos should forge right kind of partnerships with Smart City providers," senior director at Broadband Wireless Alliance Paramjit Singh Puri said. Puri said Wi-Fi networks were critical to further fuel digital connectivity in India.

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TRAI plans an initiative where municipalities will create ducts, and telephone & Cable TV companies will be told to use those ducts against a rental payment to the municipality.

The pilot project will first be launched in Deoghar in Jharkhand.

"Telecom and TV companies have to dig up the road every time a fibre is laid. This causes great inconvenience to the people of the city. In the new project, a common duct would be built on PPP (public private partnership) structure, which can be used by everybody for which the service provider would have to pay a certain amount as rent to the local government," said a TRAI official.

The project will provide revenue to the municipality & also ensure that roads are dug up repeatedly. This will provide a huge relief to the citizens.

There will be no need to secure frequent RoW (Right of Way) permission from the Ministry of Road and Highways.

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TV18's ETV News Network has expanded its regional news channel ETV Haryana/Himachal to News18 Punjab/Haryana/Himachal.

The revamped channel will be unveiled on 10 April. The channel's major focus will now shift to Punjab, followed by Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

With the earlier Badal government maintaining a vice like grip on Cable TV distribution in Punjab, channels were reluctant to launch channels for that state, since a single MSO not carrying the channel, would displace it completely from that state.

Post-election, that scenario has now changed. More channels are likely to follow, addressing the huge audience in Punjab.

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