DD Metro overhaul lures the producer brigade once again

State-owned pubcaster Doordarshan is getting gung-ho about DD Metro under new director-general S.Y. Quraishi. The reason: out of the 35 prime time slots on DD Metro all have been booked and "people are there in queue for some slots to be allotted," Quraishi said.

A scenario that was quite common in the late eighties and mid-nineties when private producers made a beeline for DD. But then frequent changes in policy and the arbit changes in schedules led to producers fleeing the network. As well as audiences.

Last year its year long partnership with the Kerry Packer Mahendra Nahata promoted HFCL-Nine fell apart after the government decided not to further proceed with the relationship. Channel Nine - led by Ravina Raj Kohli - had taken on specific prime time slots at an exorbitant price of Rs 1210 million and branded them as Nine Gold, giving DD the look and feel of a private satellite TV channel.

Quraishi admitted that DD's viewership may not be very high at the moment, but efforts are on to rectify this through proper tapping of data from non-cable areas where only DD reaches through its various channels.

Twelve new programmes are already on air on DD Metro and some 17 others are expected by the end of this month. 

Expect the battle for Indian eyeballs to get bloodier and messier, even as Star India and Sony are launching new shows, Zee has added chutzpah to its programming and Sahara TV is going on a rampage with Hindi movies.

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