Research Advisory Council to guide DD, AIR

NEW DELHI: The Indian government has so far earned a total revenue of Rs 1550.12 million from open auctions of FM radio stations, which includes earnest money, but excludes bank guarantees lying with the government. Auctioning for licences for 40 cities has been conducted thus far.

This was stated in Lok Sabha (Indian Parliament's Lower House) on Thursday by the information and broadcasting minister Sushma Swaraj in a written reply to a query put up by fellow parliamentarian, Dr N Venkataswamy.

The minister also informed Lok Sabha that pubcaster Doordarshan has constituted a Research Advisory Committee consisting of eminent personalities in the field of communication research to advise it on strengthening in-house research and improving quality of programme content. 

Quoting facts given by Prasar Bharati, which oversees the functioning of both DD and All India Radio, Swaraj said the rating agencies' sample does not adequately represent the viewership of Doordarshan as the sample size of the outside rating agency is limited to only 27 cities/towns, whereas the reach of Doordarshan lies in smaller cities and villages also. 

According to the minister, Doordarshan's research unit is being revamped suitably to facilitate proper assessment and to incorporate a feedback mechanism to enable restructuring of content and format of programme, according to viewers' needs and preferences. 

To meet the challenges posed by changes in the market scenario, Doordarshan has taken various steps in order to increase viewership and boost revenue during the coming years. These include improvement in the quality of content and presentation of channels, improvement in the quality of transmission, usage of more flexible rate card to meet challenges of the competitive market environment, introduction of effective system of advertising of Doordarshan's channels and programmes, Swaraj told Parliament. 

Steps have also been taken to exploit full commercial potential of various programmes. Doordarshan has created its own marketing set up and a separate Development Communication Division to look after business of various government ministries/departments and Public Sector Undertakings, the minister added.

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