Doordarshan notches up higher earnings, plans programming revamp

Public broadcaster Doordarshan has already earned Rs 400 million more in the first six months of the current fiscal over the same period last year.

Despite the severance of ties with Channel 9 Gold earlier this year, DD's revenues have gone up from Rs 2310 million to Rs 2705 million for the half-year ending September, according to Prasar Bharati CEO Anil Baijal.

In his first comprehensive interview to the media after taking over, Baijal announced that the pubcaster is planning a complete revamp of programming across its different channels. Speaking to the Business Standard, Baijal said each channel would be given an identity of its own, and that successful programme ideas from different regional channels would be carried over to others. He added that the public broadcaster had decided to take a ruthless stand on programmes that were not performing well. "After 26 weeks of coming on board, if a programme is not doing well, we will take it off. So far, DD has been seen as jilted by producers, but all that is going to change now," he declared.

During a recent meeting of 10 top-performing DD Kendras, it was decided that some time slots would be branded for specific genres of programmes, that could be uniformly telecast by different channels in their respective languages.

Baijal said nearly one third of DD National's programming would focus on news and current affairs, as soon as DD News, the sinking news channel, is wound up. "We are bringing news on DD National in a big way", he said. Besides, a new look DD Metro would also be unleashed by December end, Baijal said. "We are gradually taking out those programmes which are not picking up TRPs and replacing them with new ones", he said. 49 of 92 new programme proposals have already been approved.

DD is also looking at interactive shows and knowledge based game shows that will work as channel drivers. Baijal said Hum Haazir Hain, a show that features a panel of personalities facing a barrage of questions from viewers, has received a good response from viewers despite poor marketing.

Prasar Bharati has also pulled its three year old digital terrestrial broadcasting project out of the deep freezer. Baijal said that a pilot project would be initiated in Delhi by December and would be later extended to all four metros. A task force to negotiate with private players for setting up a six-channel bouquet has been put in place, he said. Prasar Bharati is also currently reviewing the quality and content of programmes on all its radio channels and exploring ways of raking in more revenue, he said.

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