DDK Mumbai - 31 and raring to go

MUMBAI: It may not have been the first television station to go functional in the country, but Doordarshan's Mumbai kendra can, as it turns 31 today, lay claim to being the best of the clutch of government owned stations running in India at present.

The TV Tower and Sahyadri, which houses DDK Mumbai's offices

It rarely gets the opportunity to blow its trumpet or extol the virtues of behind the scenes executives who mastermind some of the most popular shows on TV. But figures speak for themselves. While newly come rivals Alpha and ETV throw around hefty TRPs and reach figures, the humble DD Sahyadri is often the leader, unacknowleded, of many programming initiatives and ground events.

Burdened as it is with the onerous task of marrying entertainment with mass appeal to social messaging, Sahyadri has nevertheless succeeded in making a hit out of genres that most others did not know existed.

Sabira Merchant - 'What's the Good Word?' was one of the most popular indoor sports in the 70s

Scratch the profiles of some of the most well known television professionals today, and a connection with DDK Mumbai surfaces. Well know producer director Vinay Apte is a DD alumnus, as is former Zee TV president and now independent producer Madhavi Mutatkar. Sabira Merchant with her What's the Good Word, Tabassum with her Phool Khile Hain Gulshan Gulshan and Kamleshwar with his Chakravyuh all cut their professional teeth while at DD Mumbai in the 70s, while newsreaders Dolly Thakur, Harish Bhimani, Bhakti Barve, Smita Patil all became known faces thanks to the channel.

It wasn't exactly lack of competition that allowed DD Mumbai to rule the minds and time schedules of Bombayites in the '70s and '80s when DD National spawned the technicolour Metro as a rival. Shows like Gajra, Marathi plays, even series like Chimanrao and Shwetambara were the stuff that classy shows are made of today. Mutatkar, who joined DD as a rookie back in the 70s and climbed through the ranks, says celebrity talk shows like Rooperi which she initiated on DD Mumbai, and variety entertainment programme Gajra were later replicated by several other channels. "Stalwarts like Vijaya Dhumale whom I worked under, taught us the importance of groundwork required to mount a good programme," she says. 

Madhavi Mutatkar

Mutatkar also worked with Meena Vaishnavi, who came from a NFDC background, and who was responsible for launching Shwetambara, the first drama series ever to be telecast on DD. "These were the teachings that came in handy when I later mounted the Alpha channels for Zee," she says.

This table shows percentage cumulative reach of Marathi channels in Maharashtra (for week 14 Sept to 20 Sept 2003)-


TV Households    Cable Households    TV Households    Cable Households

Sahyadri    44.7    37.7    72.2    53.9

Alpha-Marathi    23.0    30.0    19.6    43.3

Eenadu-Marathi    22.4    29.2    23.5    51.8

While satellite rivals have managed to steal a considerable part of the thunder from the programming that was DDK Mumbai's hallmark, the channel that was re-christened Sahyadri three years ago to give it a fresh image and identity, continues to soldier on with innovative content ideas. While its interactive phone in talk show Hello Sakhi inspired a near cult following in the state, spawning similar shows on rival channels, the latest from DD Sahyadri is Jokes Apart, a five minute vignette show with a social message built in. 

This table shows weekly time spent in watching (minutes) (for week 14 Sept to 20 Sept 2003)-


Sahyadri    64    141

Alpha-Marathi    25    12

Eenadu-Marathi    20    22

"Every joke that we will tell on the programme will have a deeper message in it about issues like AIDS, education, drinking and driving, use of mobile phones while driving etc. So in a rather light hearted manner we will be spreading a lot of awareness," says station director Mukesh Sharma, known for changing the look and image of the channel among advertisers in the three years he has taken over. 

This table shows percentage weekly channel shares (for week 14 Sept to 20 Sept 2003)-


Sahyadri    7    14

Alpha-Marathi    3    1

Eenadu-Marathi    3    3

Speaking on DDK Mumbai's 31st anniversary, Sharma spoke at length about the channel's initiatives, strategies, role and acheivements in the past years. "There are a lot of new initiatives and plans lined up. Changes are always there. It is a constant process but it takes time. If we want to bring about a change in our strategy, it will take time to implement it," Sharma says.

Talking about their programming strategy Sharma said, "We are focussed as a public broadcaster and our programming is very relevant. We have education awareness programmes and programmes with a message. It is easy to make a saas bhi kabhi bahu thi type serial but programming with the aim of spreading awareness among the public is not easy. To cater to all this, Shayadri has a very important role to play." 

Award winning shows of DD Mumbai over the years-


Gift of Love    Smt.Shukla Das    1976

Alap    Smt.Shukla Das    1978

Chimanrao    Smt.Vijaya Joglekar-Dhumale    1978

Dardmaya    Shri Vinay Dhumale    1979

Shwetambara    Smt.Meena Vaishnavi    1984

Smruti Chitre    Shri Vinayak Chaskar    1984

Educational Prog    Smt.Neena Raut    1984/85

Ashrit (Play)    Shri Vinayak Chaskar    1985

From darkness to light(Educational prog)    Shri B.K.Giri    1985

Green Gold    Shri Shivaji Fulsunder    1989

Ranjai    Smt.Meena Gokhale    1990

Tak Dhina Dhin    Smt.Neena Raut    2001

Saapshidi (Sindhi)    Shri Kishan Meghani    2001

Option (Skit)    Shri Sharan Birajdar    2001

Hello Sakhi    Smt Shailaja Pandya    2002

Hello Sakhi    Smt Sheela Junnarkar    2002

While the 30th anniversary of DD Sahyadri was a quiet affair, marked by a low key launch of its website (first DD kendra to do so, after DD Jaipur), the 31st birthday is to be marked in some style. The third edition of the DD Awards are to be held in Mumbai on 22 November. The channel has also lined up a new year special programme. The packaging and marketing of the newly launched Friday films slot will be done by DDK Mumbai. "We have also bagged a lush package of R.K Films worth 20 million rupees. To add to this DD Metro is also coming up with a news channel. So there are a lot of things lined up for DD and we have our hands full," says an enthused Sharma. 

DDK Mumbai station director Mukesh Sharma

He has reason to be. DD Mumbai has always been pro active when it came to bringing in changes in the pubcaster's functioning. Mumbai was the first Kendra in India to go digital, to start regional networking by linking all the transmitters in Maharastra with Mumbai thus fulfilling the public demand of programmes in its own language. When afternoon transmission was started on 26 January 1989, it was DDK Mumbai which provided the software. Similiarly, the movie channel started in 1995 was managed from Mumbai. 

After the influx of satellite television, DD Mumbai began life anew as DD-10, a regional language satellite service that started broadcast from 1 October 1993, providing programmes in Marathi to C&S TV homes all over the country. The duration of telecast was increased to 17 hours per day from 1 January 2000. From 5 April 2000, DD-10 was renamed DD Sahyadri and started round the clock transmission. 

Talking about DD's USP, Sharma says the reach itself is the USP of the channel. "It can go to places where no other channel can. We are primarily a social programming channel. We cater to the citizens of the country and not to the commercial lot of shareholders," said Sharma.

Talking about sources of revenue for the terrestrial channel, Sharma said, "Like any other market player we sell our time slot. The packaging and presenting has to be as glamourous and attractive as it can be. We sell our time slots directly and we also have other people marketing for us. We don't have the single window system in marketing like most others do." 

Last year, DD Mumbai managed to get Rs 180 million worth of business for the channel. "When we did business for the National network last year, we spent Rs 1.5 million and earned Rs eight million in return," says Sharma. On the DD Awards last year, DD Mumbai which played host, spent Rs four million and cashed in eight million rupees from it. Chitrahaar and Rangoli, the weekly film music shows, marketed by DD Mumbai, continue to be the cash cows for DD, earning over 90 million rupees.

About the difference between DD National and DDK Mumbai, Sharma says, "DD Delhi caters to the nation and does not specifically cater to the regional audience, whereas DDK Mumbai specifically caters to the Marathi speaking audience." While DD Delhi does it own programming, DDK outsources too. 

Latest Reads
Hunt for Zee Business head continues

MUMBAI: Zee Business, an arm of Zee Media Corporation, has seen several transitions in its management this year. The channel was initially headed by Amish Devgan, who decided to move away after serving for 14 years. It was then led by Zee Media Corporation’s then CEO for content Samir Ahluwalia,who...

Television TV Channels People
'King' content will take over monopolistic media entities, says Arnab Goswami

NEW DELHI: The future of news lies in breaking away from the interdependence of politicians and the media on each other.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Animated 'Ramayana' a global Diwali gift on web, mobile

NEW DELHI: Thirty episodes of the animated series Ramayana will be available around the world on the nexGTv web and mobile platforms during Diwali.

Television TV Shows Animation
Sports Minister lauds b'casters, other stakeholders in promoting sports

NEW DELHI: India’s Sports Minister Vijay Goel said on Wednesday that digital media broadcasting will play a critical role in bringing about change in sports broadcasting in India but broadcasters must also focus on how sports as a product is delivered to audiences in rural areas so as to popularise...

Television TV Channels Sports
Know your karma on IBN7 with 'Karm Path'

In an attempt to give its viewers a refreshing start of the day, IBN7 is launching a new show titled Karm Path. Starting 27 October, the show will predict what the day holds. The show is a differentiator in its own genre as it connotes the supremacy of deeds over destiny.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Big Ganga available on Tata Sky now

Big Ganga has strengthened its distribution with DTH service provider Tata Sky.

Television TV Channels Regional
TV is story-teller's new novel; audience is Bharat, not India: Star's Banerjee

MUMBAI: Since five to six years, television has become the talking point. Th series such as 'Breaking Bad' to Transparent to Narcos to 'Game of Thrones' to 24, and now POW (Prisoners of Wars) has changed the experience of television viewing.

Television TV Channels GECs
Star World to air 1-5 of 'Homeland'

Star World and Star World HD is all geared up to air the pulse-pounding action series 'Homeland.' The show tackles geopolitical moral conundrums of our current world. It has recently unveiled the teaser for the upcoming season 6 shows how Carrie Mathison will circumvent around another international...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
Share all World Cup, T-20 feeds with Prasar Bharati, rights holder told

The telecast of all official one-day and Twenty-20 matches played by the Indian Men’s Cricket Team will henceforth have to be shared by the rights holder with the public broadcaster Prasar Bharati under the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act 2007.

Television TV Channels Terrestrial

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories