Government owned broadcaster Doordarshan (DD) is set to carry 112 channels on its DTH service FreeDish by March end, reports Indiantelevision. FreeDish is a free to air (FTA) DTH service, which recently added Big Magic to its service last month, after an initial run with the DTH service before.

DD is also acquiring ByDesign India’s conditional access system (CAS) to increase its channel offering from the current 64 channels, which includes DD National, DD News, Wow Cinema, India News, IBN7, LS and RS TV, India TV, Sony Pal, Rishtey, Sanskar TV, 9XM, Star Utsav, Aaj Tak and ABP News, along with local DD channels.

The report adds that ByDesign’s CAS solution will enable broadcasters to control access to their services by viewers, and thereby extend their subscription based schemes to them. FreeDish will switch from its current MPEG2 to MPEG4 in two phases, the first of which may happen this month.

In its 25th e-auction for FreeDish, DD raised its reserve price to Rs 4.3 crore. The auction is supposed to be held today to help DD achieve its target of 112 channels. Prior to this, the reserve price was Rs 3.7 crore per slot and lower in the previous years.

Other developments:

– In November last year, the government increased FDI to 100% for the DTH industry, cable networks, mobile TV and Head-in-the-sky businesses. However, it permitted FDI up to 49% through the automatic route, following which it will require government approval. The government had earlier in 2012 increased the limit to 74% for the industries.

– In October, the Indian Government planned to increase advertising spend on the digital platform, in lieu of ads on tradition media like print and television, to help increases the government’s presence in digital media.

– In June, public broadcaster Prasar Bharati appointed Surya Prakash as its chairman on a full time basis. Prasar Bharati’s board comprises a chairman, an executive Member (chief executive officer), a member of finance, a member of  personnel, six part-time members, a representative of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and the Directors General of All India Radio and Doordarshan as ex-officio Members.

– In December 2014, In a scathing report, the Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) of India criticized the Department of Space (DoS) for failing to meet its target of making available satellites which were to provide 218 Ku band transponders used for mainly for Direct to Home (DTH) providers hence forcing them to use overseas facilities.

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Image Credit: Gopal Aggarwal under CC BY 2.0