Television

Infrastructure shortfall in way of DD News revival

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NEW DELHI: The infrastructure at Prasar Bharati's disposal is not adequate enough to start a Doordarshan news channel at the moment, a senior official of the Corporation said. This despite the feeling in the Corporation that DD should have a dedicated news channel in its stable sometime or other.

"I would say that at present news infrastructure is not enough to (re)start a news channel," Prasar Bharati chief executive KS Sarma recently said during a party hosted in the Capital.

The question put to Sarma by indiantelevision.com was: Shouldn't a public broadcaster like DD have within its fold a 24-hour news channel?

However, during an interview given to indiantelevision.com few months back, Sarma had also pointed out that infrastructure of Prasar Bharati is not fully used.

When reminded of this Sarma added hastily that "infrastructure for news is not enough."

In a bid to attract talented professionals to make programmes for DD, Sarma also dangled the carrot of commissioning.

"At Prasar Bharati, we have about Rs 80 crore as programming budget for DD for this financial year, Sarma said while interacting with journalists and added, "I am finding it difficult to spend all the money by March 2003 (as enough good programmes have not been proposed)."

The issue of a news channel within DD fold is an issue which is debated whenever broadcasting and entertainment world personalities converge these days.

Recently during a board meeting of the Prasar Bharati, the board members dwelt on the importance of a news channel as part of a vision document which has been prepared for pubcaster DD which celebrated its 43rd birthday on 15 September.

"Though it was not exactly said in so many words that DD should revive its news channel, but one of the points discussed as part of the future of DD was the need and importance of having a news channel with Prasar Bharati (read Doordarshan)," a senior Prasar Bharati official, who had attended the board meeting, had then told indiantelevision.com.

Prasar Bharati had closed down DD News, a satellite channel, in January this year after about 18 months of being on air. During this period the channel had failed to get adequate visibility owing to the reluctance of cable operators to put the channel on prime band ahead of the likes of Zee News, Star News, Aaj Tak and even CNBC India. A treatment which is meted out to DD Sports also (except when cricket matches are aired) despite a government diktat that at least three DD channels ought to be on prime band.

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