Five regional Hindi news channels were among the 15 that found themselves in the results of the 46th e-auction for broadcasting on the DD Free Dish DTH platform.
These channels have won the right to transmit their signals on the country’s largest TV channel distribution system for a period of one year from July 1.
10 out of the 15 channels who won the 46th e-auction are Hindi news channels, while 1 is a Punjabi news channel (Chardikala Time TV).
Other than the 11 news channels, all the remaining are devotional channels (Aastha, Sanskar, Satsang and Vedic).
Out of these, Aastha, Sanskar and Vedic are already present on DD Free Dish.
Punjabi news channel Chardikala Time TV is also an existing offering on the platform.
Among the 10 Hindi news channels who figure in the results of the 46th e-auction, four (India News, Sudarshan News, Live Today and Samay) are existing channels.
Out of the remaining six, four are regional channels belonging to the India News group — one each dedicated to Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh-Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh.
The remaining two channels are News State UP/UK, a channel focused on Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, and VIP News.
Unlike the five slots allotted to major broadcasters like Star India, Zee Entertainment and Sony Pictures Network last month, all 15 slots allocated to the current batch will be broadcast using the MPEG-4 technology.
MPEG-4 encoding will restrict the number of people who are able to watch these channels, as a substantial section of DD Free Dish users still have satellite receivers that support only the older MPEG-2 technology.
Prasar Bharti has warned the winners that it may, at any point, also encrypt its signals, which would make the signals unavailable to the majority of 35 million or so Free Dish households in the country.
Prasar Bharti has been planning to encrypt the signals for the last 2-3 years. However, it has faced resistance from both viewers as well as channels.
The public broadcaster wants to encrypt the signal so that only those companies who have a tie-up with the public service broadcaster can sell satellite receivers that work with DD Free Dish.
However, most users prefer to buy their satellite receivers from the market, instead of from Prasar Bharti’s partners.