July 2017


Conceding to industry appeals that the proposed GST rates on STBs, Coaxial cables & Fiber Optic cables was too high, the finance ministry, vide its circular dated 11 June 2017, has reduced the applicable GST to 18% on the following 3 items:

 Set Top Boxes

 Coaxial Cables

 Optical Fiber

GST on SMART cards is already 18%. Hence STBs & SMART cards will now be uniformly levied 18% GST.

GST on almost all other cable TV hardware is 28%.

As mentioned in our June issue, GST on Cable TV services is 18%. GST subsumes Service Tax and Entertainment Tax, resulting in benefits to Cable TV operations in most states in the country.

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Dish Media Network has extended its existing deal for lease of transponders on the AMOS-4 satellite (65°E) into a contract for the lifetime of the satellite. it has not taken any additional capacity.

Founded in 2009, Dish Media Network Pvt. Ltd. is Nepal's the only DTH platform.

The AMOS-4 satellite has 8 Ku-band transponders of 108 MHz and 4 high-power Kaband transponders of 216MHz, each with steerable beams, offering extensive broadcast and broadband reach for the Asian, African and Middle Eastern markets.

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The practice to allocate a channel multiple LCNs / listings on an EPG clearly is extremely effective. However, the TRAI has now declared this practice illegal.

As a result, Republic TV's viewership fell 50% immediately after its multiple LCNs were removed. Republic TV's reach to 1 million from 2 million in its first week after its May 6 launch.

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Star India & Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) have threatened to disconnect the signals of its TV channels to Hinduja Group-owned NXT Digital HITS platform.

While Star India states it's for nonpayment of subscription dues, SPNI claims it's for not signing the interconnect agreement, non-payment of outstanding dues and non-submission of monthly subscriber reports. SPNDI also distributes channels of TV Today Network in addition to the Sony channels.

Both broadcasters have issued the mandatory public notice that its channels would be pulled out from NXT Digital within 3 weeks of the notice.

Star India has a bouquet of 35 Standard- Definition (SD) and 27 High-Definition (HD) channels.

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DD India, Doordarshan's international channel, will soon be repositioned as a full time English News & Current affairs channel catering to both, domestic and international audience.

As a result, English news bulletins will be removed from DD News, which will turn into a Hindi (only) News channel. DD News will also carry its Sanskrit new bulletins.

The repositioning is reportedly being driven by Prasar Bharati Chairperson A Surya Prakash. Both channels have been struggling for viewership, and it is hoped that their repositioning with content in a single language will attract loyal viewership.

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Reacting to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report, that the country had lost a huge amount of foreign exchange due to insufficient DTH transponders, the Department of Space (DoS) has committed it will increase its DTH transponder capacity, to not only retain existing platforms, but to also return other Indian DTH platforms from foreign satellites.

DoS has also promised to review and if necessary increase its transponder rates, and consider long term leases, that allow escalation of annual transponder lease rentals.

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iTV Network has launched India News Punjab.

Formally inaugurated by the state chief minister Capt. Amarinder Singh in Chandigarh, the channel promises everything - current events, news, happenings, sports, art, culture, heritage of Punjab and special programming for farmers.

iTV Network founder & promoter Kartikeya Sharma said, "It's our first foray into the Punjab region, market is highly cluttered, we will bring revolution by streamlining regional news in Punjabi. We are committed to airing relevant and impactful regional content in Punjabi, allowing us to reach out to Punjabi Diaspora settled across the globe. The channel will showcase the true spirit of Punjabiyat in all its myriad moods."

The iTV Network owns and operates 3 national news channels (India News, NewsX & NewsX HD), 4 regional news channels (India News UP & Uttarakhand, India News Rajasthan, India News Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh and India News Haryana) & 2 newspapers (The Sunday Guardian & Aaj Samaj).

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To prevent unauthorised relay of songs, scenes and films on Cable TV, the Tamil Film Producers Council's Secretary Gnanavel Raja said that they will soon announce cash prize for the public, who report such illegal broadcasts.

All public has to do is to record 15 minutes footage of the pirated telecast from your TV and send it to the mentioned email id of the Producers Council.

Gnanavel says that the TFPC has not given permission to any cable network, so all such telecasts are illegal.

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The Parliamentary Standing Committee for Information Technology which also examines issues relating to I&B has been informed that the present set up of Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC) has been enhanced to log & record 900 TV channels. It is thus fully equipped to commence monitoring all channels licensed by the Indian government.

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The TRAI has launched a new portal for the broadcasting and cable TV sector. The portal URL is unfriendly & can be accessed via the Portals & Apps tab on the TRAI's home page.

According to the TRAI portal manual "The Portal facilitates the TRAI to collect information relating to service providers providing Broadcasting services and Cable services. The collection of information through this portal in no way provides any rights, either directly or indirectly, for the purpose of granting license/permission/registration for provision of Broadcasting services and Cable services."


For the second time this year, there were no bidders for FreeDish's May 2017 e-auction. The April 11 e-auction also had no bidders.

FreeDish has sharply increased its reserve price, and observer feel that no new channels want to join the platform at these prices. After the reserve price increase to ₹ 8 Crores per year, only channels already on FreeDish have bid to renew their carriage for 1 year.

FreeDish has declared plans to shift to encrypted MPEG-4 downlinking, even though the service will remain free. Industry observers believe that the restricted choice of receivers, only from approved parties & higher STB costs, will inhibit new homes from receiving the MPEG-4 service.


Fashion TV has launched 7 free to air, 4K UHD (Ultra-HD) TV channels for the region. All these can be received in India. The channels are downlinked from the Apstar-7 satellite located at 76.5 degrees East.

The channels cater to different areas of fashion, such as films, make-up, photoshoots, men's fashion, 'midnite secrets' and events.

All 7 UHD channels can be received at 3740 MHz, Vertical Polarisation. All channels utilise HEVC / H.265 video compression, and require special satellite receivers that support HEVC with 4K resolution. 4K UHD signals contain 4 times the data and resolution as HD (High Definition) broadcasts.

Further, cable TV networks will require special 4K & HEVC encoders and consumers will require 4K digital STBs to receive the transmissions.


According to press reports, the Haryana government's intelligence wing aims to survey cable networks not complying with DAS directives.

Reports are that more than 500 Cable TV networks in the state either:

 Continue to transmit analog Cable TV or

 Do not encrypt their digital signals.

As a result of the above practices, all channel can be received by any subscriber.

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Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has filed a defamation suit against Republic TV and Arnab Goswami, seeking damages & compensation of ₹ 2 Crores.

The petition said, "It is not out of place to say that Goswami and the TV channel broadcast news reports and 'alleged expose' which were intended to lead the viewers to believe that the deceased was murdered either by Tharoor or at his instance.

Tharoor said Goswami had earlier aired similar news when he was editor-in-chief at Times Now & was then restrained by the National Broadcasting Standards Authority.

Justice Manmohan of the Delhi High Court told Arnab "Bring down the rhetoric. You can put out your story. You can put out the facts. You cannot call him names. That is uncalled for."

The case will be heard next on 16 August 2017.

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The number of DTH subscribers added between Jan to March 2017 has plummeted sharply. This was the period DAS was extended, to mop up subscribers.

Dish TV, Videocon d2h & Airtel collectively added only 3.81 million subscribers, compared to 4.93 million a year ago. Q-4 was in fact tghe worst quarter for the financial year.

Subscriber numbers for the other DTH platforms has not been made public, since they are privately held.

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Endorsing DAS, the Hyderabad High Court has dismissed a PIL which challenged DAS because it compelled cable TV subscribers to buy STBs, and prohibited analog Cable TV transmissions. The PIL was filed by the Citizens Welfare Society of Hyderabad.

The bench of acting chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan & Justice Shameem Akther refused to intervene in the DAS order.

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According to press reports (, 4 persons including Sanjay Raj, manager of Hathway Cable, Puri were taken into judicial custody on June 3, after their bail pleas were rejected by the local court.

Sanjay Raj & 3 other staff - Sukant Samantray, Jitu Swain and Rakesh Swain were arrested by the Puri Town police on charges of breaking & burning cables laid by Ortel Communications in the pilgrim town, on June 1, claims the report.

All the accused were arrested on basis of the CCTV footage, police said.

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