DD Free Dish update: WOW Cinema petitions TDSAT on delayed auctions for DD FreeDish slots

DD Free Dish update: WOW Cinema filed a case against TDSAT in delayed auctions for DD FreeDish slots. Hit by Doordarshan's decision to hold a new round of electronic auctions for private television channel slots in the FT DTH service of Pubcaster FreeDish on hold and fear of being evicted from the platform after the contract's annual expiration, WOW Cinema has moved the TDSAT court to question Prasar Bharati.

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WOW Cinema's manager Cinema 24x7 Pvt. Ltd. has requested the TDSAT Telecommunications and Broadcasting Court, among other provisional measures, that the relief of DD Prasar Bharati of not removing the television channel from the DTH platform after the expiration of the terms agreed in September 2017 until the final disposition of the present petition.

As previously reported by SatTV, channels slot for private broadcasters were not being filled after they became vacant in DD FreeDish with the expiration of the annual contracts, while Prasar Bharati would also have suspended a new round of electronic auctions since August 2017 citing "Administrative reasons".

This position of the publicist, according to the request, could / could affect more TV channels in DD FreeDish. According to the petition, which is likely to be reviewed on 12 October 2017 in TDSAT, because of the lack of clarity about the electronic auctions of Prasar Bharati and the agreement with the petitioner that will come to an end in September 2017, WOW Cinema will not be available to FreeDish viewers despite the petitioner's willingness to comply with all future obligations as part of the automatic renewal of the contract.

However, Prasar Bharati, through his lawyer, has argued that since the petitioner was free to participate in a new round of auctions (as it happens) and would be governed by a new agreement to win a slot, a self-extension was unfounded.

It was also introduced by Prasar Bharati that two more channels (VAA Movies and RT Movies) had also been released from DD FreeDish due to the expiration of their agreements in August 2017 and thus Wow Cinema is no exception.

DD FreeDish, a multichannel DTH FTA service, was launched by Prasar Bharati in December 2004 and currently carries approximately 80 SD TV channels along with 32 radio channels. This Ku-Band DTH service provides television coverage throughout the Indian territory (except the Andaman and Nicobar Islands) and reportedly has a subscriber base of approximately 22 million.

Although FreeDish has more than a decade, only in recent years, private television channels realized its importance and the reach of the platform. With BARC India beginning to measure the rural audience, FreeDish's core base, private broadcasters began to board the FTA train even paying a hefty shipping fee. WOW Cinema, for example, paid Rs. 80 million in an electronic auction for a one-year life on the DD KU band platform.

Not only some private television stations from the big broadcasting booth like Zee, Viacom18, Sony and Discovery, GEC and included news channels, had climbed into the FTA car, but Star India had recently released new TV channels or new (Star Bharat and Star Sports First) in DD FreeDish with new programming to extend its reach and improve audience measurement data.