DD Direct Plus, Doordarshan's free-to-air direct-to-home service, aims to have a pack of 100 channels on its platform. It currently offers 46 channels, apart from 21 channels of All India Radio.
"We are targeting a package of 100 channels by the end of this fiscal. This has become possible by lowering the annual carriage fee that broadcasters have to pay," a senior source in DD tells Indiantelevision.com.
DD Direct has added Japan’s NHK TV earlier this month. With this, it is beaming three foreign channels including Korean Broadcasting Corporation and Deutsche Welle.
"We expect another 10 foreign channels to join our platform soon," the source adds.
DD Direct brought down the carriage fee last year from Rs 10 million to Rs 2.5 million along with a service tax of Rs 300,000. Foreign broadcasters, however, have to pay a carriage fee of Rs 5 million.
The imposition of the carriage fee of Rs 10 million had resulted in almost all news and many general entertainment channels quitting the platform. At present, the only private Indian news channel on the platform is Total TV.
The first DTH platform to be launched in the country, DD Direct had initially been launched by offering free carriage to different FTA channels. As a result, almost all the news channels had come on the platform. But many left when the carriage fee was fixed at Rs 10 million.
However, the sources said new steps were being taken to get back the channels and also invite newer FTA channels to join the platform. The reduction of the fee in mid-2007 had only been the first step, they added.
The sources said negotiations were at an advanced stage with Tara Bangla. The platform had recently seen the entry of music channels like B4U Music and 9XM, and some south Indian TV channels. The private channels include five music channels and two spiritual channels. DD Direct's bouquet includes 20 Doordarshan channels.