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May 2019


After decades of making huge losses, Doordarshan says it has become operationally profitable in FY19.

Doordarshan's DG - Ms Supriya Sahu said that the public broadcaster has recorded highest revenue in 2018-19. It had a Gross revenue of ₹ 1113.7 crore & a net revenue of ₹ 943.8 crore in the year ended March 2019.

Prasar Bharati had set a target of ₹ 1488 crore revenue for the year, which was reduced by ₹ 100 Crore, due to non-auctioning of Free Dish slots.

On 11 Feb 2019, FreeDish auctioned 40 MPEG-2 slots for ₹ 394.49 Crores, adding substantially to last year's bottom line, but it still did not meet its reduced revenue target of ₹ 1388 Crore.

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DTH operator Independent TV (earlier Reliance BigTV) told the TDSAT that a 2 year transponder lease from Antrix was essential for it to sustain operations. It also required 3 additional transponders, in light of the new Interconnect Regulations, 2017.

The tribunal said the DTH operator was free to approach Antrix and work out a mutually agreeable solution over the next 6 weeks.

The matter has been posted for hearing on 24th May 2019.

Independent TV also pointed out that it was awaiting transfer of licence/NOC in its own name. The MIB responded that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had requested additional information, which had been conveyed to Independent TV. The DTH operator's response was awaited.

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Dish TV has waived off the 30-day lock-in period for pay channels and bouquets.

The lock-in period, earlier introduced by the DTH operator, prevented consumers from unsubscribing to a channel for at least 30 days.

Consumers can now drop or change their channels even after a single day. However, it has retained a 7 day lock in for sports channels.

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BBC Global News India received a satellite TV channel licence for CBeebies, a pre-school kids' channel.

The MIB also issued a new downlink license to ABP News Network (ANN) for ABP Sanjha - a Punjabi news channel.

In February, the ANN had received 4 new TV channel licenses for ABP Andhra, ABP Ganga, ABP Kannada, and ABP Tamil.

Currently, the APB News Network operates 4 news channels ABP News (Hindi), ABP Majha (Marathi), ABP Asmita (Gujarati) and ABP Ananda (Bengali). All its channels have been shifted from Pay to FTA, after the new tariff order was implemented.

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Indians are watching much more live TV. Real time (excludes OTT) TV consumption has grown by a whopping 67% over the last 3 years, to 1 trillion man-minutes in 2019 from 600 billion man-minutes in 2015. This implies 45 minutes additional TV viewing per individual! TV viewing has increased per person from 3 hours 7 minutes in 2015 to 3 hours 53 minutes in 2019.

These figures were presented by Broadcasters Audience Research Council India (BARC India) COO Romil Ramgarhia during a summit organised by the Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA).

Ramgarhia pointed out that TV is the biggest medium with daily tune-ins of 613 million. The print and social media pale in comparison to TV with 173 million total daily readership of newspapers and 250 million active social media users.

The consumption of regional content has witnessed exponential growth. Bengali grew 144% in 2018 followed by Bhojpuri (139%), Odia (100%), Gujarati (92%), Marathi (75%), and Kannada (58%). Broadcasters launched 75 new channels in 2018, of which 52 were regional channels.

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TRAI has issued a statement that as on 31st March 2019, the migration of all TV consumers to the new tariff order, has been completed.

"Migration to the new tariff order is complete with most of the viewers either selecting their choice of channels or continuing with the best fit plans (BFPs). Many of the DTH consumers, who have been migrated to BFPs (Best Fit Package) in the last 2 months, have either remained with those packs or changed a couple of channels. In a way, these have become their packs of choice," Arvind Kumar, advisor, TRAI told the press.

Industry estimates are that only 60% of cable TV consumers have opted for channels of their choice, while 39% have been migrated to BFP. There are ongoing requests from consumers to shift from their BFP to customised options.

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The News Broadcasting Standard Authority (NBSA) has warned 5 news broadcasters for violating the News Broadcasters Association's (NBA) code of conduct.

The warnings were issued to ABP News, Republic TV, India Today, Zee News and Tez. The Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC) filed 2 complaints against ABP News & other complaints against India Today & Tez.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) had filed complaint against Zee News for its 3 programmes "Taal Thok Ke", "News Special" and "DNA."

Sharad Shah filed complaint against Republic TV for calling Congress leader a member of Pakistan's ISI.

In all the cases, NBSA has let the news channels with a warning to exercise greater care, caution & discretion in future.

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TV news broadcaster Associated Broadcasting Company Pvt Ltd (ABCPL) launched its Hindi news channel TV9 Bharatvarsh on 30th March. The Hindi news channel promises "balanced & fair news".

ABCPL operates 6 news channels in different languages, for Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Gujarat & Maharashtra. The channels are under the brand names of TV9, News9 and TV1.

ABCPL was promoted by industry veteran Ravi Prakash with seed capital from Srinivasa Raju through his investment firm iLabs Venture Capital Fund Pvt Ltd (iLabs) and Chintalapati Holdings Pvt Ltd (CHPL) in 2003. iLabs and CHPL held 17.63% and 71.06%, respectively, in ABCPL.

In 2018, Srini Raju exited the company after selling his stake to a clutch of investors including promoters of Megha Engineering and MyHome Cement. The company was valued at ₹ 456 crore for the transaction.

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The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has investigated complaints against 415 advertisements in December 2018 and January 2019.

DTH operator Independent TV, English news channel Republic TV & Ashoka News app in the list of 12 advertisements, whose claims were "Not substantiated, misleading by exaggeration and were likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers."

Republic TV's ad claim, "Desh Ka Number one channel" was false, misleading & also contravened BARC Guidelines.

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The MIB has issued 11 new TV licenses in the Non- News category.

Mukesh Ambani's Viacom18 received 9 new licenses. The proposed channels are BDM, Connected, Eco-lution, Hawa Mahal, IMIX, My Tube, Pick-a-trick, Story City and Treble.

Star India received a license for the Star Gold HD 2 channel.

Hare Krsna Content Broadcast received a license for its proposed channel Hare Krsna.

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DD Free Dish has added a new category or 'bucket' as it calls it, for devotional/spiritual/AYUSH channels on its MPEG-2 slots.

The reserve price for the devotional bucket has been fixed at ₹ 3 crore.

The bucket will include Spiritual channels, channels promoting Yoga, Ayurveda, Health & Wellness (AYUSH) based on traditional methods.

Three slots have been reserved for genres deemed to be in public interest.

The amended policy also provides for placement of regional DD channels currently not available on DTH/cable, for placement on vacant MPEG2/MPEG4 slots.

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Dish TV has launched a new OTT app "Watcho" offering original series, short films, on-the-go short video content & infotainment videos. Watcho will focus on short format storytelling & offer original short-form shows across genres and languages. At present it has around 20 shows in Hindi, Telugu and Kannada.

"This is our unique digital content platform and we aim to reach over 10 million users in the first year itself," Anil Dua, ED and Group CEO, Dish TV India told the press.

Akash Tyagi, Head OTT, Dish TV India, added, "The big differentiator for Watcho is users can generate & showcase their content."

The service is available free to all (not just DishTV subscribers) as an introductory offer.

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