DD Freedish confirms MPEG-4 next month, NDTV says no decision on going FTA on any of its channels
Even as two pay channels – Aajtak and Big Magic – have come on Doordarshan Freedish as free-to-air channel, possibilities have opened up for more channels coming on the platform even as it prepares to complete its migratiom to MPEG-4 next month. A Prasar Bharati source confirmed that the switch-over to MPEG-4 will be in two phases and the aim was to take the total capacity to 112.
Claiming that the Broadcast Audience Ratings Council (BARC) ratings had shown the importance of Freedish in reaching out to rural India, the source said that Aajtak and Big Magic which are pay channels are being run as FTA and have been accommodated in the current MPEG-2.
Meanwhile, NDTV denied any decision on turning FTA and coming on Freedish next month. An NDTV source said that any such decision, if taken, would be communicated through the media. A senior official who did not want to be named also confirmed that no decision had been taken yet on any of the NDTV bouquet channels going free to air, since this kind of decision could only be taken at the management and board levels.
Doordarshan sources also said that as all the 64 slots under MPEG-2 had been filled, there was no question of any other channel coming on. In any case, he said any channel which decided to come on the platform had to bid in the auctions that are held from time to time. All the slots under MPEG-2 were filled, the next auction date had not been finalized, the sources confirmed.