Six News Channels Pay More for DD Free Dish Slots

News channels increased their spending on secure distribution on the free direct delivery (DTH) platform, DD free dishafter Prasar Bharati revised its e-auction strategy.

Six news channels – News18 India, ABP news, NDTV India, Republic of Bharat, Zee News And TV9 Bharatwarsh – collectively spent Rs 100 crore to get slots on the DD Free Dish platform, according to people familiar with the e-auction process.

This is double the amount they spent on the e-auction last year. The price of slots at the current auction increased by 50-100% for six news channels.

News channels paid an average of Rs 16.68 crore per slot compared to Rs 9 crore last year. The reserve price for news channels has been set at Rs 7 crore.

Leading TV news network executives said the remaining news channels that have not yet bid have no choice but to bid as the industry’s call not to bid on the e-auction has proved fruitless.

News broadcasters have previously threatened to boycott ongoing auctions, arguing that next fiscal year’s freight charges would not be viable for the news genre.

Prasar Bharati changed the methodology of the electronic auctions, allowing channels of other genres to bid on seats in a certain basket that was previously reserved for a certain genre.

The News and Digital Broadcasters Association (NBDA) and the News Broadcasters Federation (NBF) wrote a letter to the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Anurag Thakur, asking him to intervene in this matter. However, some member channels of both associations have gone further and participated in the electronic auction, despite the NBDA and NBF’s call for a boycott.

Prasar Bharati collections from DD Free Dish free slot sales topped Rs 450 crore on the fourth day of the annual e-auction, which kicked off on March 14, people involved in the development said.

The public broadcaster hosts its annual DD Free Dish electronic slot auction, which reaches approximately 40-50 million homes. The slots are put up for auction for a period of one year from April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024.