Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Digital Broadcasters | India | Doordarshan DTH Losing to Rivals

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News spotted in the Indian Financial Times newspaper a story about Doorarshan's free DTH venture, "Direct Plus".

Essentially the story suggested that at least 10 private channels will soon move off "Direct Plus" leaving just 23 channels of which 19 are DD’s own regional television channels.

The reason for the migration by the channels to other distribution methods was the demand by Doordarshan to charge an annual 'carriage' fee of Rs 1 crore (10 million Rupees) from private TV channels.

As a result, DD is struggling to add new subscribers to its DTH platform. Sources in the industry said DD Direct was able to add just 200-250 subscribers a day, against 2,000-3,500 new subscribers every day being added by private DTH channel packages from rivals, "Tata Sky" and "Dish TV" India.

DD Direct is currently being hosted on satellite NSS-6 and uses 5 transponders, each for an annual rent of Rs 5-6 crore (50-60 million Rupees). Analysts say the five transponders can show up to 80 channels, whereas DD Direct currently has 33 channels, a bulk of which are DD’s own.

DD Direct was launched in 2004 with a budget of Rs 165 crore (1.65 billion Rupees) allocated by India's Information and Broadcast Ministry.

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News questions whether the Doordarshan DTH service is fast becoming a white elephant.

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