Prasar Bharati in exploratory talks with telcos

NEW DELHI: After having netted over Rs 1 billion in revenues for Doordarshan’s (DD) less hyped sister concern All India Radio (AIR) for the last financial year ended March 31, Prasar Bharati now wants to do better.

According to Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma, Prasar Bharati is holding 'exploratory talks' with India’s telecom service providers - both fixed line and cellular - to have a revenue sharing arrangements for thousands of calls that are received by some AIR centres from listeners in the country and abroad for news updates.

The news-over-telephone service has been made available by AIR at its centres in Kolkata, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Patna. People can call up these centres at designated numbers and get news updates.

To make this facility more user friendly and revenue yielding process, Prasar Bharati, which oversees the functioning of DD and AIR, is also mulling getting a four digit number that would be common for the whole country.

"The AIR centres get thousands of calls daily from people in India and abroad for news. This would mean increased traffic for various telecom service providers. We are exploring ways wherein Prasar Bharati would ask the telecom companies to share part of the revenue they generate through such calls made to AIR for news," Prasar Bharati CEO K.S. Sarma told

AIR’s Delhi centre alone receives about 3,000 calls per day, mostly from the US, Sarma said, pointing out that this plan would be put into effect after a board approval.

According to him, talks would be opened up with state-run and private telecom companies, including Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. (fixed and mobile service provider in Delhi and Mumbai), Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. and the lies of Bharti Cellular Ltd and Hutchison Essar Telecom Ltd.

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