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DTH News : Pak to award three DTH licences on 23 Nov; Chinese, UAE companies in fray
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#1
MUMBAI: Twelve Pakistani companies have been shortlisted by PEMRA to bid for the award of three DTH licences on 23 November which is anticipated to fetch around US$400 million. Initially the authority will issue license for a period of 15 years, which will be extended as per agreement.

No TV channel would be allowed to be a part of the licence directly. The base price for the bid offering was PKR 200 million.

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority is expecting indirect and direct investment of PKR 4194 crore (INR 2720 crore) through bidding of Direct to Home licenses during the next three years. PEMRA officials said the body will open the bidding process at the PEMRA headquarters to give away three licenses, for which 12 companies including Chinese, Russian and UAE firms out of 16 had been selected, Pakistani newspapers reported.

PEMRA had fixed the price of DTH service box PKR 2,500 to PKR 3,000 and its subscription fee will be only PKR 550 a month.

Countrywide, this decision is forecast to create 1,500 direct and 15,000 indirect employment opportunities. PEMRA officials said DTH had captured maximum 25 per cent market while the rest was being served by digital cable suppliers.

There are around three million consumers, using Indian DTH, and the government aims to eliminate it through local facilities and save about PKR 24 billion in capital flight to India.

A PEMRA official said that a Chinese firm was keen to establish a company in Pakistan to manufacture set-top box for DTH and digital cable TV. The Pakistani cable market is primarily analogue, and the most of the operators have not adequately invested in upgrading their networks.

Cable operators in Pakistan had launched an anti-DTH campaign. The Cable Operators Association had staged a protest last week against the DTH bidding. Association chairman Khalid Arain said that the PEMRA chairman had assured the association that PEMRA would not launch DTH in the next two years, warning it to stop the bidding or face the consequences.

Meanwhile, Christian Post reported that PEMRA had banned all 11 Christian TV channels airing in the country and arrested at least six cable operators for defying the order.

PEMRA does not grant landing rights for religious content, allowing the airing of Christian messages only for Christmas and Easter.

However, the Christian channels had been operating for over 25 years. PEMRA has now formally labelled the Christian channels as illegal, the Post reported quoting UCAnews.

Source:
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Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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#2
Pak DTH licence bidding stayed

MUMBAI: The Lahore High Court reportedly stayed the DTH licence bidding process till a decision on petitions challenging PEMRA rules governing licences is taken.

A bench headed by Justice Ayesha A. Malik issued the order suspending the DTH (direct-to-home) licence bidding process scheduled for Wednesday, Dawn reported.

The decision was taken on similar applications filed by the Independent Newspaper Corporation and others.

The bench had already heard the main case against the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) rules on DTH service licences and reserved its judgement.

Some media companies had questioned the rules terming them discriminatory. They accused PEMRA of not allowing local broadcasters to participate in the bidding. PEMRA had opposed the petitions arguing that a broadcaster could not be a distributor of its own content. It would be a conflict of interests, PEMRA stated.

Cable operators strike off

The Cable Operators Association on Tuesday called off its strike following discussion with the minister of state for information Marriyum Aurangzeb and the Pakistan Broadcasters Association.

COA president Khalid Arain said the government had assured them that their concern over DTH licences the issue would be addressed.

PBA supports cable operators

Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) chairman Mian Amir Mehmood has said that a joint committee would negotiate the terms regarding DTH with the government. He said that DTH was unfair to the cable industry and the Pakistani channels.

If the reservations of Pakistani channels and the cable industry were not resolved, it was also decided in the meeting, the PBA members will not allow PEMRA to telecast its channels on the DTH. The PBA has also assured the cable operators of its support in case of retaliation by PEMRA, the News reported.

Cable channels subsequently reopened throughout Pakistan.

Source:
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Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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#3
Pak DTH: Mag, Shahzad & Star Time to start ops in a year

MUMBAI: Three direct-to-home (DTH) licences in Pakistan were on Wednesday awarded for a total of PKR 14.694 billion (USD 140 million) by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) as confirmed by its Twitter handle.

The auction started after Pakistan's apex court permitted PEMRA to go ahead with the bidding although the Lahore HC had issued a stay on the process.

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, Pakistani newspapers reported. PEMRA issued non-exclusive licences for 15 years to the three companies. The licencees will have to start operations within a year or risk termination.

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

Pakistani DTH services would counter 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. The DTH services will now give Pakistani consumers a choice against the existing monopoly of cable operators.

Terming DTH a game-changer, Alam said, it was the biggest investment in Pakistan’s electronic media history. As per estimates and feasibility studies carried out by PEMRA experts, the overall investment, Alam said without explaining, would be US$ 450 million ($ 150 million each) and could reach an additional US$ 750 million in the next two years, newspaper reports stated. Alam said that those estimates did not include the bidding proceeds.

The DTH service, Alam said, was a state-of-the art technology adding new dimension to the audio-visual content distribution system. The existing analogue system was offering a maximum of 80 channels while the DTH, Alam added, would increase the capacity to around 120 and each local DTH licence holder was expected to have at least 500,000 subscribers.

Similarly, landing rights will be permitted to foreign channels to come under the local regime, and new local satellite channels will be approved.

Source:
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Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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