Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati is planning to increase “significantly” the number of channels offered through its free-to-air DTH service, by auctioning them in a staggered manner.
It is also considering carrying out a change in its policy to try and get the best of channels on its DTH service.
From Tuesday, six vacant slots on Prasar Bharati’s Direct to Home (DTH) wing DD Direct Plus are set to go under the hammer.
A Bangalore based private firm – Synise Technologies – has been chosen to conduct the e-auction. Currently, Doordarshan’s DTH platform offers 59 channels of which 30 are private, 21 of DD, Lok Sabha TV, Rajya Sabha TV and two channels run by the UGC.
Four foreign channels – NHK, ABC, France 24 and Russia Today – complete the bouquet of channels on the DTH wing.
“The capacity to carry channels on our DTH wing is set to increase significantly as Doordarshan is planning to buy equipment that will allow it to utilise an additional transponder on satellite INSAT 4B,” an official said.
According to the official, though it was estimated that the capacity of the DTH platform to carry channels could increase by 50, the public broadcaster may strategise before filling up those slots.
“While the increase in capacity will take some time, it is being considered that to avoid oversupply, new vacant slots that emerge will be filled only as per market demand,” the official added.
Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar said another aspect that the broadcaster is considering is how to get better quality channels on its DTH wing.
“We are considering framing a policy by next year which will allow the best of channels to be shown on our DTH platform,” Sircar said.
There was a need to consider a new policy which would be transparent but also to ensure that the best of channels prefer to come to the Doordarshan platform so that they can be shown to viewers all across the country, he said.
Officials said that Doordarshan expects its DTH wing to turn highly profitable with the addition of more slots.
“The EMD or earnest money deposit for the auction of the six channels which will be auctioned on Tuesday is Rs 3 crore each. It can be considered as the minimum reserve price,” a senior official said.