DD looking at identity makeover; Piyush Pandey may be the man to do it

NEW DELHI: Taking a leaf out of private satellite broadcasters' strategy book, India's Prasar Bharati is contemplating hiring the services of a top notch advertising professional to primarily give the channels of Doordarshan a distinct look and identity.

According to sources in Doordarshan, a final decision has not yet been taken, but the name of Piyush Pandey, the head of WPP company O&M India, is top of the pops.

In recent times some private broadcasters too, have undertaken similar initiatives and unveiled new channel logos, looks, et al. This includes the Subhash Chandra-controlled Zee Telefilms as well.

Prasar Bharati Corporation, which oversees the functioning of pubcasters Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR), has recently taken several steps to be contemporary, even while remaining within the parameters of a public service broadcasting organisation.

Sources added that the issue of getting a top ad professional to advise Prasar Bharati on the channel look, identity and logo was discussed in one of the recent board meetings of the Corporation.

The rationale behind such a move, as and when it actually materialises, is to bring some life into the normally staid functioning of DD and AIR and something which will excite the viewers and listeners of DD and AIR.

Though DD's reach as a terrestrial broadcaster far outstrips those of any private broadcaster - maybe all of them put together - the look and feel of DD channels, especially DD National and DD Metro, still seem to be stuck in the past.

But it must be said that with the arrival of Prasar Bharati chief executive KS Sarma and DD director-general SY Quraishi, things have started looking up. The DG, especially, takes great pride, like senior executives of any other private broadcaster, in highlighting the reach of DD and the advantage that this reach can give to advertisers.

Still, it must be said that in the past DD has experimented with advisors on various aspects of marketing and communication with little result. For example, sometime in the past film personalities Ketan and Deepa Mehta had been entrusted with the task of giving a new look to DD that went by and large unnoticed and proved to be ineffective too. Though the Mehtas went home with a fat cheque from DD.

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