September 2019


Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) has bought out the balance 26% stake in Zee-Turner - now renamed Zee Network Distribution Ltd.

"In this regard, we wish to inform you that, upon completion of all conditions precedent including inter alia change of name of the subsidiary after removing the word 'Turner' to Zee Network Distribution Ltd, the company has concluded the said acquisition and accordingly, Zee Network Distribution Ltd has now become a wholly-owned subsidiary on and from 9 August 2019," ZEEL disclosed in its statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

The company was incorporated on 20 December 2001 as a joint venture between ZEEL and Turner International India Private Ltd (Turner) for distribution of TV channels. Subsequently TRAI disallowed cross broadcaster bouquets, and the operation of Zee-Turner was suspended. the JV partners mutually agreed to terminate the JV agreement & Turner sold its 26% stake (26,000 shares of ₹ 10 each) in ZNDL at par to ZEEL, making ZNDL a wholly-owned subsidiary of ZEEL.

The current buy-out has no impact today on distribution or any other related activities. The renamed company may be re-deployed by ZEEL for other activities.

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The Landing page issue refuses to die-down.

On 8 August, TRAI filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the TDSAT's 29 May 2019 order, permitting sale of the 'Landing Page' by MSOs and DTH platforms. The 'Landing Page' is the boot up channel when an STB is switched on.

A bench headed by HMJ Arun Mishra heard the matter, and refused to grant TRAI a stay on the TDSAT order. Hence the Landing Page can continue to be monetised by distribution platforms, until the Supreme Court delivers its final verdict. The next hearing is scheduled for 12 September.

The landing Page is a powerful tool by broadcasters, to boost viewership of their TV channels. Data for week 22, first since the landing page ruling, saw CNN News 18 topple Republic TV as the most watched TV channel.

BARC the rating agency too has set up a committee to examine if it can & should ignore viewership of the landing page.

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Despite promises to its subscribers that it would resume transmissions on 15 August 2019, DTH platform Independent TV has neither made the required payments nor furnished a bank guarantee to Antrix Corporation for reactivation of its satellite transponder. Signals were disconnected by Antrix on 12th June due to non-payment of outstandings.

The TDSAT had directed Independent TV to pay Antrix ₹ 5.83 crore along with a bank guarantee of ₹ 6 crore or furnish a bank guarantee of ₹ 12 crores, valid for at least 2 months for the reactivation of transponders.

Continuing its hearings in the matter, the TDSAT said "Since the petitioner has not been able to make the required payments or furnishing the bank guarantee, as indicated in the last order passed on 2.7.2019, the resumption of supply of signals has not happened. Petitioner should make the payments at the earliest."

The next hearing is scheduled for 12th September.

Independent TV has received a license from the I&B minister, to continue its operations till 31st December 2019.

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The Board of Directors of Hinduja Ventures Limited (HVL) has agreed 'in principle' to take IndusInd Media & Communications Limited (IMCL), into HVL, subject to all statutory/ regulatory approvals and approval of the shareholders. I

MCL is a cable distribution company & a national level MSO. IMCL's business consists of digital content distribution, carried out through multiple platforms including satellite & fiber and also the Broadband business carried out through its subsidiary.

IMCL is India's only integrated Digital Platform Operator (DPO), providing delivery via digital cable, satellite (HITS) & fiber.

"IMCL has posted a positive Operating profit and positive Profit after tax for the first quarter of the current year. We expect this positive trend to continue, buoyed by cutting-edge technology that will spawn a series of innovative products and solutions, a robust inclusive model with all our cable operator partners and a customer-centric approach" says Vynsley Fernandes, Chief Executive Officer,

Hinduja Ventures Limited operates across 3 segments: Media & Communication, Real Estate & Treasury.

The Hinduja Group is a premier diversified, trans-national conglomerate, with over 100,000 employees, presence across 38 countries & multi-billion-dollar revenue. The Group was founded over a hundred years ago by P.D. Hinduja.

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The New Tariff Order is quite complex and consumers have found it difficult not only to understand the options, but also to select from a choice of over 800 TV channels.

Consumers have complained to the regulator of the lack of flexibility to them in selecting their TV channels, resulting it them being forced to take on high cost TV packages, several times the cost of subscriptions prior to the regulator's New Tariff Order.

To ease the selection of channels, TRAI has circulated a draft regulation that proposes Channel selection apps to be created by third parties. These apps will follow a pre-specified API, enabling them to become a universal app that can be used by consumers of any Indian Cable TV, DTH & HITS platform. The draft regulation makes it compulsory for all DPOs to share information with the apps after authenticating the subscriber.

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Creative Channel Advertising and Marketing (Manoranjan Group) launched its Free-To-Air, Hindi GEC channel - Manoranjan Grand on 15 August. The company had received the licence in February, and test transmissions had commenced before the launch.

Manoranjan Grand is the third TV channel from the Manoranjan Group - it already owns and operates Manoranjan TV (Hindi movies) & Manoranjan Movies (Punjabi movies).

Creative Channel Advertising and Marketing president Sahib Chopra said that Manoranjan Grand will take the place of Hindi GEC FTA channels that recently became Pay channels. As a result, little heard of FTA Hindi GEC Channel Dangal TV has become India's most watched TV channel.

Chopra said they will bid for a third slot on DD FreeDish when a slot comes up for bidding. Manoranjan TV and Manoranjan Movies, both FTA channels are already on DD FreeDish.

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According to press reports, the Noida police raided "4 Muskman Electronics Pvt Ltd" & seized 70,000 broadband TV STBs. Two persons including the Director - a Chinese national were arrested.

These STBs were capable of receiving pirated Indian & international TV channels broadcast over the internet.

The STBs were sold in cash.

The arrested persons have been charged with piracy, importing the STBs as 'computer parts' & for GST evasion, since sales were in cash without GST. Also, no MRP was printed on the STBs, as required by law.

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Press reports indicate that talks for sale of Dish TV to Airtel DTH have resumed.

The talks stalled a month ago, when Airtel is reported to have bid ₹ 35 per share against Dish TV's expectation of ₹ 45 per share.

The Essel Group needs to generate funds by selling assets, to repay debt of more than ₹ 17,000 Crore by end September.

Hopes were pinned on the sale of the promoter's stake to a combine of Comcast, Murdoch's Lupa Systems, Blackstone and independent fund Atairos. Unfortunately, the deal fell through. Instead, Zee's long term investor - Invesco Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund - bought an additional 11% stake in ZEEL for ₹ 4,224 Crore. The Essel group still needs to bridge the gap of ₹ 12,700 crores.

Given the Essel Group's rapidly approaching deadline, Dish TV's sale to Airtel is likely to be at a price closer to the earlier offer of ₹ 35 per share, than the promoters' expectations.

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Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj passed away in New Delhi on 6 August, of a heart attack. She had had poor health and also had a kidney transplant some time ago.

She will be remembered as one of the greatest orators and the most pro-active Minister of External Affairs (2014-2019), protecting the interests of every Indian who faced was in trouble. Mrs Sushma Swaraj was the I&B Minister under Late Prime Minister A B Bajpai, between 2000 and 2003.

The Conditional Access System (CAS) bill was passed during her tenure.

Swaraj had also the I&B Minister briefly between March 1998 and October 1998.

She initially banned the retransmission of FTV (Fashion TV) in India. When queried, she had said "Where is the question of fashion, when the models don't wear any clothes?" The channel was later permitted to downlink into India

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