Prasar Bharati hopes to find distribution partners to push DD channel in UK on BSkyB

NEW DELHI: Indian pubcaster Doordarshan wants to travel to the UK to woo TV audiences of Indian diaspora, but doesnt have the requisite fund of its own to do so as the government has refused financial help in this regard.

So, Prasar Bharati, which manages Doordarshan and All India Radio, would float tender inviting companies interested in distributing a Doordarshan channel in the UK on the BSkyB platform.

Interacting with journalists during a demonstration of DDs DTH service today, Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma admitted that lack of adequate fund has hampered a DD channel joining the BSkyB platform.

Pointing out that the government has refused to extend a helping hand in this regard, Sarma said, Since the cost of being distributed in the UK is high and we are not in a position to do so ourselves, we are looking at private parties to help us in doing so. The government has refused any additional financial aid.

According to him, it would cost Prasar Bharati Rs. 140 million per year per channel to be distributed in the UKs cable and digital pay platforms.

He expressed hope that people would be interested in being the distributor of a DD channel in the UK and earn revenue by targeting people of Indian origin there.

In this regard, he said that five companies have shown interest in distributing five language DD channels in the United States and have offered $ 50,000 per channel per year as a minimum guarantee to Prasar Bharati.

Initially, Prasar Bharati had drawn up plans to take two channels, one news and the other having entertainment-related programming, to the UK on the Rupert Murdoch-controlled BSkyB platform.

The finance ministry had struck down this proposal indicating Prasar Bharati re-work the whole project, including future revenue models. Finally clearance for one channel had come through. The rider: DD wants to go to the UK, it would have to pay for the fare.

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