July 2018


Prasar Bharati has submitted to the TDSAT that the MIB will declare a new policy for sale of FreeDish channel carriage, "within a month or so."

In April, Prasar Bharati had told the TDSAT that the new policy will be finalised in a few weeks.

TDSAT will hear the matter again on 20 July, till then, FreeDish must continue carriage of private channels on the same rates that were earlier applicable to that channel.

Cinema 24x7 had moved TDSAT in September 2017 against FreeDish cancelling slot auctions without an alternative plan to allow existing channels to continue on Free Dish. Subsequently, other broadcasters whose contracts had ended or were about to end also impleaded themselves in the matter.

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The TDSAT has restrained GTPL Hathway from providing signals of Star India channels to Scod18 Networking or to Local Cable Operators (LCOs) affiliated to Scod18.

Earlier, the tribunal had restrained Scod18 or its affiliate LCO from taking signals of ZEEL or IndiaCast Media Distribution from GTPL till the pendency of the petition.

The tribunal further stated that an LCO, who was earlier the affiliate of Scod18, is entitled in law to approach GTPL for signals provided after obtaining a "No Due Certificate" from Scod18. This facility is available to LCOs so that they may be able to obtain signals from any competent MSO in accordance with law, it added.

The tribunal also directed that the MSO supplying signals to such LCOs has to ensure that only the logo of the MSO supplying signals appears on the screen.

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In the hope that the TRAI's revised tariff order will be implemented soon, Dish TV India has stalled finalising any long-term rate negotiations with Pay channels. Speaking with analysts, Dish TV chairman and managing director C(MD) Jawahar Goel said that the company is doing 3-4 month contracts keeping in mind the tariff order implementation.

The revised tariff order has much in favour of distribution channels like Cable TV & DTH networks.

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The I&B ministry has released ₹ 617 crore to Prasar Bharati for the payment of salaries for the months of April, May, and June.

The decision to release the funds was taken soon after the appointment of the secretary Amit Khare on June 1.

Under Smriti Irani, the MIB had refused to release the salaries until a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the public broadcaster.

"The formalities of signing the MoU will be subsequently cleared, but for now the salary disbursal has been taken care of," an official told the press.

Prasar Bharati had paid the salaries for January and February 2018 from its contingency funds.

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The Delhi High Court today granted interim stay on an order of the MIB, by which permission to operate was withdrawn to the 'News-7 Tamil' channel.

The MIB order was based on the Home Affairs ministry refusing to provide the channel a security clearance.

The TV channel's parent company - Alliance Broadcasting Pvt Ltd said it had met the joint secretary - MIB a month earlier, explaining that the channel had an unblemished record of operations and payment for the past 10 years, and therefore the sudden withdrawal of it license was unreasonable. It also asked for an extension of its license for a further 10 years.

The MIB maintained that due to lack of security clearance, and serious allegations against the company, by the Home Affairs ministry, the operational license was being withdrawn, and its application for a further renewal, rejected.

The company was granted 10-year permission by the I&B Ministry to uplink and downlink a news and current affairs TV channel in English and other regional languages in January 2007. The channel was initially called "Real Estate" & its name was changed to "News 7 (Tamil)" in 2014.

The court will continue to hear the matter.

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Five years after Sam Pitroda asked for a manpower audit of Prasar Bharati, Broadcast Engineering Consultants India, an institution under the I&B ministry, issued a tender again to scout for an agency that can carry out a 'scientific and rational manpower audit to critically assess the current manpower resources of Prasar Bharati.'

The successful bidder will have to derive a 'uniform HR policy on consultants and casual assignees and determine the exact role of the deployed personnel by identifying gaps, redundancies and also look at dying cadres or the posts that are no longer required due to changes in technology from analog to digital in radio, redundancy of analog terrestrial of TV, outsourcing, etc.'

A similar tender was floated a few months ago, but applicants did not have the skills and infrastructure for the 16 month audit.

The current uneasy situation between the public broadcaster and the I&B ministry may persist, even with the new I&B minister - Rajyavardhan Rathore who has spoken of the "... right of the ministry to know the expenditure on salaries, without infringing on the autonomy of the organisation."

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On June 3, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) launched its third English movie channel and second under the '&' brand. ZEEL already operates movie channels: &Priv HD & Zee Studio.

'&flix' is positioned as a mass English movie channel.

The channel is available in both - SD & HD formats on leading DTH & cable platforms.

&flix will have 52 hit premieres a year which will air every Sunday at 1 pm & 9 pm, with 48 of these premieres coming from Sony library of 400+ movies it acquired from Sony Pictures last year.

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The tenure of the current TRAI chairman RS Sharma, who took charge in late July 2015, ends on August 10. The term of the post is not exceeding 3 years or till the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. The government has sought applications for the post of chairperson of the telecom & broadcast regulator by July 2, setting the ball rolling for a change of guard at the authority. "The qualifications for the post as derived from Section 4 of the TRAI Act, are as follows: A person having special knowledge of, and professional experience in telecommunication, industry, finance, accountancy, law, management or consumer affairs," the Department of Telecommunications said in a document seeking applications posted on its website.

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The I&B ministry has sent out a final notice to 92 MSOs, asking them to submit details of their network or face cancellation of registration.

The ministry had issued a letter on 28 June, 2017 followed by a show cause notice on 31 August, 2017 requesting MSOs to submit the details of Headend, Subscriber Management System (SMS), mandatory TV channels being carried and area wise STB seeding data as per their Management Information System (MIS).

"Now, it has been decided to give a Final opportunity to reply to the Show Cause Notice and furnish the information sought vide letter dated 28/06/2017," the MIB said in its final show-cause notice dated 24 April.

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