The outbreak of COVID-19 is creating a financial burden for TV channels. As the government has imposed lockdown period to combat the deadly virus, the production of new content has been paused, which is creating a scarcity of fresh content on the platform and low advertising revenues. FTA channels are facing financial distress because of the current lockdown period, whereas pay channels are still being saved by subscription revenue. Also, the demand for waiving carriage free which was appealed by FTA channels has been ignored, which might create a situation where FTA channels might pull out from DD Free Dish.
FTA Channels Have Hit Rock Bottom Due to Virus Outbreak
FTA Channels were in a good financial position post lockdown period. DD Free Dish was one of the most effect blueprints of FTA Channels, and the platform also generated a whopping amount of Rs 400 crore at the back of these channels. However, Covid-19 outbreak disrupted the entire market and strategy of FTA channels. The platform has been in dark phase since the production of new content has been paused. A major chunk of FTA channels has already appealed to Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) to forgo carriage waiver fee for at least a quarter.
Prasar Bharati Notification States Deferment over Waiver of Carriage Fee
India’s largest public broadcasting agency, Prasar Bharati has stated that FTA channels can avail a deferment period of 3 months as it will offer liquidity in short-term to FTA channels. However, a spokesperson from a large FTA broadcaster stated that Prasar Bharati notification is just a little support and it will not solve the problem in the long run. Also, he added that FTA channels might stick with their decision of pulling back from DD Free Dish this month.
Swati Films Pvt Ltd have Asked for Interim Relief Against Disconnection
Swati Films Pvt Ltd which operates two FTA channels on DD Free Dish has appealed to TDSAT and asked for interim relief against disconnection of the channel from its DTH platform. Swati Films have also asked for more time to evaluate the two more alternatives offered by the state broadcaster.