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Government approves 32 DTH channels for educational content


The Government of India has approved the SWAYAM Prabha project which aims to operate 32 Direct to Home (DTH) channels to provide educational content to teachers, students and other citizens. The channels are expected to launch before September this year.

The project will initially launch in English, but the Ministry of Human Resource Development plans to add programs in regional languages as well. The channels will cover different subjects for 4 hours everyday, with lessons being repeated 6 times a day. The curriculum based courses will include classes in arts, science, commerce, performing arts, social sciences, humanities subjects, engineering, technology, law, medicine and agriculture.

The channels will likely be available over Doordarshan’s free DTH service FreeDish. Note that the Government owned broadcaster had said in January this year that it would carry 112 channels by March. 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.

In its 25th e-auction for FreeDish, DD raised its reserve price to Rs 4.3 crore. The auction was held in January 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:

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– 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.

Our government and DTH coverage.

Image Credit: Gopal Aggarwal under CC BY 2.0

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