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DD's DTH Auction to Encompass 3-Tier Bidding Process
DD's DTH Auction to Encompass 3-Tier Bidding Process
By: iMedia News Bureau

The Government will follow a three-tier bidding process to auction slots on Doordarshan's free-to-air DTH platform to private broadcasters with a minimum benchmark of Rs 1.5 crore as carriage fee for each channel.

Carriage fees to cable and DTH operators account for about 50 per cent of a channel's total cost. The auction, to be held shortly, will be carried out in three rounds, said a senior I&B Ministry official, adding that the objective is to maintain "transparency and objectivity" in the entire process.

As many as 350 channels are believed to be in queue to join the public broadcaster's DTH platform which at present has 59 channels, of which 19 are Doordarshan channels and 36 are private ones.

Over eight million household have DD's DTH Service across the country, which the officials said could go up substantially once the 200 channels are rolled out.

"The inclusion of more channels would also trigger a competition in the market and a slash in subscription rate by other players... a win-win situation for the customers," he said.

"Letters have been sent to all the channels who have applied to be placed on DD DTH platform and also to all those existing channels on DD Direct Plus platform who are completing their annual agreements up to April 30, 2011, inviting them to participate in the auction process," the official said.

The Government had recently also unveiled guidelines for the FM radio phase-III expansion through the auction of license which could yield it Rs 1,733 crore of income. 

The official said those channels who have submitted the bank guarantee of Rs 1.5 crore and could not participate in either the first round or second round of the auction process can also submit their bids in the third and final round of the auction process.

The final list of the successful bidders as per the availability of the number of vacant channels will be uploaded on the DD Website.

The Prasar Bharati Board had last month approved the working plan for expansion of Doordarshan's DTH platform to 200 channels by the year end.

The Rs 4,000 crore DTH industries in the country is seeing the addition of 10 lakh households per month.

While the Government has set March 31, 2012 as the deadline for shift to digital addressability in the four metros, the I&B official said the viewers could as well choose the DTH service before that.