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General News Broadcasters can now bid for new Pak DTH licence auction
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MUMBAI: The Lahore High Court has requested PEMRA, Pakistan's broadcast regulatory body, to start the bidding process for direct-to-home (DTH) licences again, after it declared the recent auction void that must be reheld. PEMRA is considering challenging the order in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, local newspapers reported.

With the new order, broadcasters such as ARY and GEO will now be able to bid to operate DTH satellite TV services in the country.

Three direct-to-home (DTH) licences in Pakistan were on 23 November awarded for a total of PKR 14.694 billion (USD 140 million). The highest bid was raised by Mag Entertainment for PKR 4.91 billion, respectively followed by M/s. Shahzad Sky for PKR 4.90 billion and M/s. Star Time for Rs 4.89 billion. PEMRA had issued non-exclusive licences for 15 years to the three companies.

PEMRA chairman Absar Alam had said the DTH service would not end the cable operators’ business, but would compel them to invest in technology and distribution systems.

The auction barred broadcasters from bidding owing to what was believed to be a conflict of interest. The court however said the restriction was based on an assumption that any vertical integration between broadcast media and distribution services would result in undue concentration of ownership.

Pakistani DTH services would have countered the sale of illegal Indian DTH services in Pakistan, which leads to annual transfer of between US$ 200 million to US$ 350 million to India on account of subscription fee.

Source:
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Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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