The national broadcaster Doordarshan's commercial and advertising revenues have soared to an all time high of Rs 6.1 billion for the financial year 1999-2000 as against last year's Rs 4.14 billion. Above all, the revenue projection for the forthcoming year is Rs 7.75 billion due to the decision of Prasar Bharati to hike ad rates.

Telecast of cricket matches contributed Rs 1.6 billion to the kitty while Prasar Bharati procured revenues of Rs 900 million from All India Radio (AIR). Plans are on the anvil for a new FM channel for news.

For the year 2000-2001, the Prasar Bharati Corporation is getting a whopping grant of Rs 11,330 million from the government, which implies that it will finally enjoy the long-awaited financial autonomy. Of the Rs 11,330 million, Rs 9,630 million is grant-in-aid, while the remaining Rs 1,700 million is in the form of a loan. The corporation has received its first installment of the grant -- a sum of Rs 1,880 million to meet its expenses for the first two month of the new financial year. The grant will be used to run All India Radio and Doordarshan. Rs 5,500 million of the Rs 11,330 million is to be spent on salaries for its huge roll of 40,000 employees.

DD has shrugged off its shyness and is mulling joint ventures and strategic partnerships with international broadcasters and players including BBC, CNN, AOL-Time Warner, NHK and Sony. Prasar Bharati has decided to digitalise the signals for DD and AIR. The ventures with the foreign players will be in the areas of transfer of technology for digitalisation and programming exchange.

DD has appointed Modi Entertainment Network (MEN) for monitoring technical and distribution issues. It will keep a tab on cable operators whether they deliver DD on the prime band or not.

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