Prasar Bharati revenues take a dip in 2001-2002

NEW DELHI: The public broadcaster's gross commercial revenues have taken a beating this year.

In a reply to a query in the Upper House of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), information and broadcasting minister Sushma Swaraj today disclosed that Prasar Bharati's gross commercial revenues for 2001-2002 had slipped to Rs 6152.1 million from Rs 6375.1 million the earlier year.

The pubcaster, which had netted revenues of Rs 5971.9 million in 1999-2000, had registered an impressive growth last year, but has not been able to sustain the same this fiscal.

CABLE TV MARKET: On whether the Prasar Bharati proposed to enter cable TV market, Swaraj said it had recently signed a memorandum of understanding with MTNL for cooperation in exploring new business opportunities and utilisation of the fibre optic network for carriage of Doordarshan services. 

PLAN TO REGULATE CABLE AND TV PROGRAMMES: On the government's proposal to regulate cable and television programmes, the minister said that the government had constituted an inter-ministerial committee to go into specific complaints regarding any programme not being in conformity with the prescribed programme code. 

She said the committee would consist of officials from the I&B ministry, home, defence, external affairs and law. On cases that had been taken cognisance of by the Press Council, Swaraj said the media watchdog had during the period from 1 April 1998 to March 31, 2001 examined 2,452 complaints and upheld 352 of them. 

FILM FINANCE: She also said that under the government's new plans, the Reserve Bank of India as well as public sector banks may soon finance films launched by producers with a good track record, subject to certain conditions. Under the scheme, Swaraj said producers would be required to finance 25 per cent of the project cost as promoters' contribution and could also tie up with distributors to receive advances as is the usual practice. 

She said bank advances would be to the tune of 35 to 40 per cent and this could be increased to 50 per cent on merits under the new guidelines. 

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