Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 28-07-2011

Direct to home (DTH) satellite TV carriage slots are being auctioned by India’s public broadcaster Prasar Bharati with a reserve price set INR 1.5 crore.

The slots, which will be valid for a year on the state’s free to air DTH network Doordarshan (DD) Direct Plus, will be e-auctioned in rafts - with 20 reportedly currently up for grabs. Another 150 slots will be made available to bidders come November, according to Business Standard.

“Doordarshan would generate a minimum of INR 550 crore in revenue for these auctions. Of this, around INR 150 crore would go towards meeting operational expenses. The remaining resources would be utilised to create programming content and to expand the reach of DD Direct,” a senior official at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is quoted as saying in Business Standard.

DD Direct Plus can currently carry 59 channels, although Prasar Bharati – which operates the Doordarshan TV network – is set to increase this figure to around 400 by the end of the current financial year.

A capital expenditure budget of INR 200 crore has been set by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to realise the necessary infrastructure for the state’s enhanced DTH platform.

DD Direct Plus has a reported viewer base across India of 9 million – and is second in size only to Dish TV’s DTH platform, which currently serves 10.9 million paying customers. DD’s extensive terrestrial TV network also reaches 92% of India’s vast population in 81% of the country’s geographical mass.