DD News to get another make-over

NEW DELHI: Well, well! Doordarshan News, the channel that was relaunched late last year, is getting another face-lift as the country gets into the general elections mode.

A The new look, , to be effective from 2 February, would include a slightly modified logo, new graphics, montage and several brand new shows. And giving finishing touches to the makeover is the Noida-based Beehive Systems, which has clients like CNBC TV 18.

Being the only surviving bilingual news channel in operation at present --- Star News gave up this slot to become an all-Hindi channel --- DD News would be introducing a half hour `dynamic wheel with news on the hour every hour in Hindi, interspersed with English news bulletins every half hour.

The Headline News will be repeated in the middle, which ensures that no headline news is more than 15 minutes away.

The new programme schedule has been drawn up with flexibility as the core word, though it has to be seen whether the strategy succeeds, according to Prasar Bharati, which manages DD and All India Radio. The focus will be on bringing as many events live as possible.

Ever since its launch, DD News has been having a good run on the viewership chart. Being a terrestrial-cum-satellite channel, it quickly managed to corner 61 percent viewership in all-TV homes.

Known more for being a dull and drab government mouthpiece and less for good packaging and racy presentation, DD News, however, surprised critics by emerging the second most watched channel after Aaj Tak, in the fiercely competitive C & S (cable and satellite) homes. Over the last few weeks, DD News has moved down to third position among 15 + viewers in C & S homes, but Prasar Bharati officials expect the situation to change , again, for the better as it unveils a slew of new programming and packaging initiatives.

The new shows being introduced are as following:

* A bilingual new breakfast show, to be anchored by Sanjiv Paliwal, Anisha Nayyar, Kartikeya Sharma and Ume Qul Sum. Politics and business will be part of it, but the main focus will be on entertainment, lifestyle, sports and international news.

- Chunav Ki Halchal : This programme is already on air at 10.30 p.m. in place of a sponsored programme of Rajat Sharma, which has since discontinued.

- Jan Vaani : A Sunday interactive talk show featuring a celebrity guest with invited audience and phone-ins and SMS inputs. With election fever gripping the country, the guests would be mostly politicians from different walks of life.

- Chhoti Moti Batein : Another programme aimed at a specific target audience, the youth between 18-20 years, who are going to vote for the first time in their lives. This will be an edutainment show aimed at creating political consciousness among the youth and air in the evening on Saturdays and Sundays.

- Kahi Unkahi (Said Unsaid) : Addresses issues concerning minority communities on Sunday afternoons. This programme will be broadcast on DD National also.

- Rajya Nama : Another election-oriented programme, where poll scenario is dissected and analysed state by state during weekdays at 7 pm.

- Global Challenges : A programme on international affairs hosted by journalist Arati Jerath. The programme is supported by the Ministry of External Affairs.

Other popular programmes like Rangtarang (culture round up) and Sports Talk would continue to be on air after a revamp, including a new montage and better packaging.

With more people from Aaj Tak channel joining DD News (subse tez channel's news director Uday Shankar would join Star News some time in February after a break from Aaj Tak), the pubcaster is gearing up to cover general elections in a big way.

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