As per a report by FICCI-EY Media Entertainment, DD Free dish has crossed 40 million subscribers which accounts for more than 25% of the total households in the country. It is expected to surpass 50 million subscribers by 2025.
FICCI-EY's 2021 report was released in March and presented an overview of the current and future scope of every segment of media and entertainment through TV, Radio, Print, digital, etc.
DD Free Dish, previously known as DD Direct Plus, is provided by public broadcaster Prasar Bharati. It is the only Free-to-Air (FTA) Direct-To-Home (DTH) service which offers a free subscription for the viewers, with no monthly payment required. All it requires is a one-time investment of Rs.2000 to purchase and install the Set-to-Box (STB) and small sized Dish Antenna with accessories. This free dish service was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2004. With the help of an Online Web app, the consumers can search and find DD free Dish set Top Box dealers according to their nearest location.
It primarily started off with 33 channels and now has over 161 including 91 Doordarshan channels (with 51 co-branded educational channels), 70 private channels, 48 radio channels.
Popularity of DD Free Dish
The network is growing popular among the audience because of its wide variety of channels, offering content related to Entertainment, sports, news and education. According to BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council), the platform had 22 million subscribers in the year 2017. Mostly, rural population is responsible for the growth of the network. In 2017, rural TV viewership contributed 52% to the overall viewership. The Information and Broadcast Ministry stated that in many cases, DD Free Dish has emerged as the second set-top box within the Indian TV households, reported Live Mint.
PM e-Vidya Program for Students on DD Free Dish
Announced by Finance minister Nirmala Sitharam, the programme was aimed at helping students, making digital education feasible for students in the country at a time when they needed it the most as many didn't have access to internet. SWAYAM Prabha dth is a channel on DTH Free Dish, started as an initiative by the Ministry of Human Resources Development to provide 32 High Quality Educational Channels through DTH (Direct to Home) across the length and breadth of the country on 24X7 basis. It provides education for students of 1-12 classes, UG and PG courses and prepares students for competitive exams.
DD free dish earns money through auctions. It allows broadcasters to run their channels on the platform and in return these channels give money to the free dish to buy a spot for themselves on the platform. Broadcasters invest in Free Dish to get advertising revenues which are generated when audience watch their channel.