October 2018


Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) has shut down TEN Golf HD channel and replaced it with Sony Marathi HD.

Sony Marathi, the broadcaster's first regional GEC, is priced at ₹ 16 under the new TRAI tariff order. Ten Golf HD was earlier priced at ₹ 35 on a la carte basis.

The Golf content will be shifted to the SonyLIV OTT platform.

Sony obtained TEN Golf as part of its acquisition of Ten Sports Network from ZEEL in August 2016.

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Doordarshan has commissioned 9 new Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) vans, to enhance its ability to provide real-time news. DSNGs are mobile Earth Stations which enable broadcasting from any remote place through a satellite system.

Four of these will be deployed in the northeast: Gangtok, Kohima, Imphal and Agartala.

The other 4 vans will operate in Allahabad, Vishakhapatnam, Chandigarh, Jagdalpur & Pune.

Including these, Doordarshan now has a fleet of 43 vans, including 25 C-Band and 18 Ku-Band DSNG vans.

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DEN Networks plans to increase its ARPUs, by promoting Ultra High Definition (UHD) 4K Android STBs.

"Investing in HD STBs remains our key focus area and along with the launch of new generation 4K android STBs. These technology initiatives are going to be the next growth driver for the company coupled with subscription rate increased already announced," DEN Networks CEO SN Sharma told analysts during a recent earnings conference call with analysts.

"The cost now is roughly ₹ 4000 plus taxes, earlier it was double this when we tested and so the efforts have been to bring down the cost and we are successfully almost there, and these will be extended to the subscriber of broadband services and the cost has to be borne by these subscribers," he explained.

DEN's 4K Android Internet STB will provide unified TV entertainment spanning both Cable & Internet. DEN is the first MSO to offer features like content sharing between mobile phone and TV, voice search for browsing through channels etc.

DEN has no specific scheme or plan for the 4K internet boxes. "Depending upon the demand & the trend we see after seeding few thousand boxes, we may decide on an appropriate plan," said Sharma.

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On 11 Sept, Tata Sky launched its fifth in-house regional movie channel - 'Tata Sky Tamil Cinema,' priced at Rs 45 per month.

Tata Sky also offers 4 other regional movies services: Tata Sky Telugu Cinema (₹ 45), Tata Sky Marathi Cinema (₹ 30), Tata Sky Bangla Cinema (₹ 30) and Tata Sky Punjab De Rang (₹ 30).

According to a Crisil report, Tata Sky's net profit has zoomed to ₹ 408 crore for the fiscal ended March 2018 as against ₹ 8 crore in the previous fiscal.

Tata Sky's FY18 revenue jumped ₹ 5719 crore from ₹ 5302 crore (FY17) & ₹ 4472 crore in FY16.

As of 31 December 2017, Tata Sons, NDDS, TSIL, Bay Tree, Omega and Tata Capital Ltd (directly/indirectly) owned 41.49%, 20%, 20%, 7.8% and 0.71%, respectively, of the company's equity capital.

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In August, the I&B ministry again did not issue a single DAS MSO license, but issued 1 new uplinking/ downlinking licence to BKR International Media for their non-news satellite TV channel '99 Entertainment TV'.

Mysteriously, despite its claims to promote DAS, the I&B ministry has not issued a single DAS MSO license in the past 18 months! The only option currently available to new DAS MSOs is to partner with, or buy out an existing DAS MSO license holder. All DAS licenses issued so far are valid 'All India' and can be used for a DAS headend anywhere in the country.

In August, the I&B ministry also cancelled 7 TV licenses, Viz: Anandam, Mi Marathi, Music Choice, News Express, Toonami, OK Music, and Tora TV. All hese channels have not been operational.

After the above licenses issue & cancellations, there are now 862 licensed private satellite TV channels, consisting of 382 news and 480 non-news channels.

The MIB has also approved name change Viacom18's 'Uplex' to 'Colors Kannada Cinema' & ZEEL's 'Zindagi' & 'Zee Classic HD' renamed to 'Zee Kerala' and 'Zee Kerala HD'. Zee Kerala is expected to launch in November.

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Siti Networks has launched its android hybrid STB 'Siti PlayTop' which will come pre-loaded with YouTube & YouTube Kids. It will also provide Siti' HD Cable TV channels. The STB is priced in the range of ₹ 2200 to 2500.

The box has an inbuilt Wi-Fi receiver which allows customers to use their existing broadband connection of any ISP to make their TV Smart.

Siti PlayTop also includes a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) facility via a USB connector. Siti PlayTop will initially be rolled out in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam, Odisha, Delhi, and Haryana followed by a progressive rollout across India in the coming months.

SITI Networks Limited is a part of the Essel Group. The MSO has 15 digital head ends and a network of more than 33,000 Kms of optical fibre and coaxial cable, servicing approximately 11 million Cable TV homes, countrywide.

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Entertainment Tax has been subsumed in GST. However, local bodies and municipalities can still levy entertainment tax, within their municipal limits.

Vide a July 9 gazette notification of its Urban Administration & Housing Development (UAHD), the Bhopal Municipal Council (BMC) has decided to levy a flat 15% entertainment tax on all cinema halls.

There was a proposal to also levy entertainment tax on Cable TV. However, a memorandum by both Congress and BJP corporators sought exemption for Cable TV. BMC council members argued that some relaxation be given for the less well-off. For now, cess on cable TV subscription has been postponed," said BMC mayor Alok Sharma.

"BMC is dependent on cess and taxes," said Sharma, supporting the levy of the new tax.

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Answering queries in parliament, MIB Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore said there was "No proposal to acquire the broadcast rights' for live telecast of Test series between India and England, and the Cricket World Cup in 2019."

He clarified that "Live telecast of cricket matches was being done on Doordarshan Sports channel under the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act, 2007, which was passed by the Parliament and notified the same year. These matches included the ongoing cricket series between India and England comprising three T20s and three one-dayers."

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