Prasar Bharati outlines strict guidelines for programmes on DD

NEW DELHI: Shape up, or ship out. This is the message that Prasar Bharati is giving out to private producers of programmes who have made hay for long while the Doordarshan sun shone.

Pointing out that from now on, DD would be insisting on a programme notching a certain amount of TRP if it wants to continue being on the DD platform, Prasar Bharati CEO K S Sarma told indiantelevision today, " We are likely to insist on serials and other entertainment programmes getting between 6-8 TRP between the 10th and 13th episode. If that does not happen, such programmes will be phased out."

The payment for programmes would also be made around the 10th episode once the TRPs start coming. The copyright, unlike in the past as in the case of mega serials like BR Chopra's Mahabharata and Ramanand Sagar's Ramayan, would now be DD's.

If this sounds like a bit far-fetched, then hang on. Prasar Bharati is getting savvy and is in no mood to tolerate any nonsense from private producers, a la private satellite channels who have stringent agreements with outside programme producers.

In a landmark decision taken during the course of a two-day board meet ended yesterday, India's pubcaster, managing the affairs of Doordarshan and All India Radio, has also decided that those producers who owe money to DD and have gone to the court seeking legal redressal would not be allowed to use the DD platform unless they mend their ways.

The deadline for this is 15 August, according to Prasar Bharati CEO K S Sarma, who said, "If the defaulters (four of them) don't come around and submit a repayment plan, DD will not allow them to make programmes even on the basis of advance payment."

Sarma said all noted producers would be welcome but defaulters will be excluded from it. In fact, the Prasar Bharati heard four major defaulters -Sunil Mehta, Dheeraj Kumar of Creative Eye, Ramanand Sagar and Sanjay Khan's Numero Uno--- and the board finally "rejected" their claims, Sarma added.

Superstar Amitabh Bachchan's ABCL, once a leading defaulter, has cleared the principle amount, he added. At one time, Bachchan had even agreed to do public service messages for free on DD in lieu against another portion of the outstanding due to the pubcaster.

Prasar Bharati board has also decided to give life insurance cover to its employees in the strife-torn Jammu & Kashmir state. Recently kashmiri miltants had attached the AIR facility there.

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