Television

DD hopes to meet Rs 6.2 billion revenue target

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NEW DELHI: Pubcaster Doordarshan is confident that it will reach its revenue target of about Rs 6,250 million by the time the current financial year comes to an end on 31 March, 2003. However, as of 30 November, DD's revenues stand at just under 50 per cent of its target at Rs 2,666.4 million.

"Our revenues as of November are lower compared to the figure in the previous year, but we are confident that we will be able to achieve the annual target," DD's director-general SY Quraishi told journalists today during an interaction which was clearly aimed at publicising facts and figures about DD's immense reach. An exercise which private satellite channels undertake from time to time quite frequently and with great impact at times.

However, Quraishi did admit that if previous year's revenue figures are taken into account, then DD is lagging behind. Around November 2001, DD's revenues had been pegged at Rs 3,279 million.

Dwelling further on revenues, Quraishi said that the previous year's figures looked slightly inflated because of two "bad deals" --- Zee Telefilms' affiliate Budha Films committing about Rs 4500 million for marketing of cricket rights and the DD Metro deal with Kerry Packer-HFCL combine.

"One of the cases (Budha Films) is in the courts, while Nine Gold deal for DD metro was not extended beyond a year," Quraishi said, trying to explain the low revenues generated till now this year. But he put up an optimistic front while saying, "We were slightly worried earlier, but now are confident of achieving the revenue target. More so because of the World Cup cricket (which is round the corner beginning early next year) and because of DD winning some cases," the DG added.

DD is also exploring the ways to show non-India World Cup matches too on DD Metro or on a delayed basis which, it says, is sure to add to its revenue kitty.

According to Quraishi, as per their calculations, DD is expected to corner between Rs 150-200 million as minimum guarantee money from Nimbus which is marketing the World Cup cricket matches to be telecast on DD. This is apart from the revenue sharing that will be done on 80:20 basis in favour of Nimbus.

Quraishi also pointed out that as part of giving some fillip to revenues, DD is focusing on the entertainment segment on prime time. "That's a focus area for us now as we are also looking at increasing good in-house entertainment-related programming," he added.

Another initiative includes renting or hiring out resources at DD's disposal which are not being utilised fully. "We have an open mind on resource sharing with private satellite channels or anybody else," Quraishi said, adding, "For example, many of DD's 54 studios are not always utilised. In case people are interested, we can hire out the facilities on rent."

Asked whether Kaun Banega Crorepati in its new avatar is likely to make an appearance on DD's terrestrial network, apart from being telecast on Star Plus, as part of finding synergies between DD and private satellite channels, Quraishi said that "some talks had been held in a board meting (of Prasar Bharati), but no decision has been taken as of yet."

He also evaded a question on whether DD is looking at having a game show on its channel and whether Siddharth Basu, who produced KBC for Star Plus and also used to do Quiz Time on DD many years ago, has been commissioned to devise a game show exclusively for DD.

Quraishi also said that DD is looking at buying programmes and serials off the shelf but they have to be new and not re-runs of other channels. "We are interested in buying serials, but they have to be new. We don't want re-runs or old serials unless they are very good," he added, indicating that some defaulting companies which owe DD money have offered programmes in lieu of the outstanding dues. "We are examining the issue," he said.

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