DD unveils edutainment channel Bharati tomorrow

The grande dame of Indian broadcasting is donning a new avatar from tomorrow.

The launch of DD Bharati, the sleeker version of good old Doordarshan, timed to coincide with Republic Day, will be marked by a three hour live broadcast of the inaugural function. Artistes including flute maestro Hari Prasad Chaurasia, violinist L Subramaniam, singers Kavita Krishnamurti and Begum Parveen Sultana and the Colonial Cousins are expected to perform at the launch.

The 24-hour edutainment channel takes over from DD News, that is being given a silent burial today. It aims to be 'different', bringing together three broad programming bands - on health and fitness, children, and culture and heritage. The USP is that all programmes will be India centric. Forty per cent of the content is being produced in-house, the rest has been commissioned out to TMG, the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts and Transtel of Germany. While Discovery Channel is likely to provide some software for the new channel, DD is also in talks with Pentamedia Graphics to source animated versions of Indian classics and folktales. 

The new satellite channel will have to face competition from the plethora of private channels that are already vying for viewer attention in the country. DD is taking precautions by reportedly making it mandatory for cable ops to air the FTA channel in the northern belt. The channel, with its India specific programming, will have to sustain audience interest in an age when most rival satellite channels are focusing on going more and more local. Time alone will decide if DD Bharati lives up to its promise of being 'different'.

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