Doordarshan’s free-to-air (FTA) direct-to-home (DTH) platform Freedish has added 16 new channels and renewed one slot in the last three months. The DTH operator added nine channels including two regional channels during the 26th e-auction held on 15 February. During the e‐auction, the DTH operator for the first time reserved slots for regional channels at a base price of Rs 2 crore (Rs 20 million) per slot. For general slots, the base price is Rs 4.3 crore (Rs 43 million). Three Hindi movie channels were added, including Rishtey Cineplex, Star Utsav Movies (earlier Star Gold Romance) and Movie House.
The other channels added during the e-auction are home shopping channel Naaptol Blue, music channel X Zone, Hindi news channel India News, and Marathi movie channels Fakt Marathi and Chitrapat Marathi. Sri Adhikari Brothers’ Hindi movie channel Dillagi has renewed its slot. Fakt Marathi and Chitrapat Marathi are the only regional channels to be added during the e‐auction. It is pertinent to note that Star Utsav Movies is yet to launch.The channel is slated to launch in May/June.
Rishtey Cineplex and X Zone are owned and operated by Viacom18. Naaptol Blue is the second home shopping channel after HomeShop18 to launch on the platform. iTV Network, which had earlier won a slot for its Hindi news channel India News, won another slot under the same name.
The company is running India News on the new slot. It is likely to replace India News by launching another channel in that slot. Apart from the nine channels, the DTH operator added eight more channels on monthly pro rata basis.
These channels are Hindi news channel Shree News, Hindi movie channel RT Movies, Hindi movie channel Khushboo TV, education channel Vision TV Shiksha, Hindi movie channel Housefull Action, Hindi music channel MTunes, Bhojpuri movie channel Oscar Movies Bhojpuri, and home shopping channel TeleShop TV. As reported earlier, Freedish has expanded its capacity to 80 channels from 64. It is all set to increase its capacity to 112 channels as the equipment for upgrade of the DTH platform has been installed, Minister of State in the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore had said in the Lok Sabha earlier.
Earlier, the DTH operator had migrated to GSAT-15 satellite with effect from 1 February. It will get additional transponder capacity on GSAT-15 to enhance its capacity to 250 channels as part of approved 12th Plan, I&B Minister Arun Jaitley had told the Lok Sabha. The Department of Space (DoS) has agreed in principle to provide additional transponders on new GSAT 15 satellite required for upgrade to 250 TV channels, Jaitley had said.