Star Sports First , a new FTA sports channel from Star network is coming soon on DD Freedish / DD Direct plus platform
Star has won 2 slots in the e-auction held on 4 july and they are planning to use 1 of its slot for a FTA sports channel
Star India is deepening its association with sports by launching India’s first private free-to-air (FTA) sports channel. Currently, public broadcaster Doordarshan’s DD Sports is the only FTA sports channel in the country. The FTA sports channel, christened Star Sports First, will be launched on DD’s FTA DTH platform Freedish, which has an estimated 22 million subscribers. Star India had won two slots on Freedish in the e-auction conducted by DD on 4 July. One of the slots will be utilised for Star Sports First. Star is also the first broadcaster in India to launch regional sports channels in Hindi and Tamil. “Star will launch an FTA sports channel Star Sports First. The channel is likely to launch before the beginning of the Pro Kabaddi League, which kicks off on 28 July. Freedish will be the primary distribution platform for the channel,” said an industry source on condition of anonymity. While Freedish has a plethora of content ranging from entertainment, movies, news to music, it does not have quality sports content, barring DD Sports, and the events aired by DD National as part of mandatory sharing as most of the sports content is only available on pay TV platforms. Star Sports First aims to fill in this gap by offering mainly rural audiences with quality sports content. According to an EY report on India’s FTA TV market, just 1% of viewership of sports channels was from the FTA market while the pay market contributed 99% of the viewership. Ever since BARC India rolled out viewership data for the rural market, FTA Hindi GECs have been trying to woo the rural populace by cutting down the window for airing fresh content from their pay GECs.