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Help New channels: All dressed up, but nowhere to go
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#1

Mumbai, Dec. 12: Sonic, a new channel from the Viacom18 stable, is set to launch this month. But Ms Nina Elavia Jaipuria, Vice-President and General Manager, Viacom18, is not sure whether all the DTH players will be ready to carry Sonic immediately.

There is always an indefinite lag between the time a channel is launched and it is aired on DTH platforms. This is due to a variety of factors including negotiations over carriage fees, the demand pull of the channel as well as lack of bandwidth among DTH players.

“Distribution is a challenge and some DTH players do not have enough transponders to transmit the new channels,” says Ms Jaipuria, who expects the new children's channel to reach a target of 40 million households within months of the launch.

Defence

Although Sonic is set to launch in mid-December, Ms Jaipuria gloomily forecasts that it will get carried by DTH players only by March next year.

DTH players have their defence pat. Says Mr Vikram Mehra, Chief Marketing Officer, Tata Sky, “Launching a new channel comes with an expense and we, as platform owners, have to keep our commercial interests in mind.

While there is shortage of capacity in terms of bandwidth, we also take into account the customer pull for every new channel based on data from our call centre.''

Mr Mehra says Tata Sky gets nearly 80,000 calls per day at its call centre and is in a position to fathom the demand for a particular channel.

For instance, since it saw demand was high for Hindi film content among its consumers, Tata Sky was the first DTH player to air new channels like UTV Stars (which provides Bollywood news) and Sony Mix (a Hindi film music channel).

DTH players say that for channels that do not have enough demand pull or ratings, it is carriage fees (or bandwidth charges) that come to their rescue.

As Mr Salil Kapoor, Chief Operations Officer, Dish TV, says, “Carriage fees or bandwidth charges is the expense incurred by the DTH owner.

This expense is large, especially when a channel is not in demand and there is no fixed formula to determine this fee or charge.”

In sum, it's the market forces of demand and supply that decide whether a channel should get aired or not.

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#2
Tata Sky needs to add more Bengali Channels to its kitty . It has long time since they have added any Bengali Channel . From the day I have taken connection not a single new Bengali channel has been added . I have taken connection for almost a year now ............... Please try and add atleast one more new Bengali Channel if not more ..............
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