Television

Private producers shifted off prime time slots on DD News

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NEW DELHI: To have them, or not? Failing to answer the question fully, Doordarshan News has gone in for a compromise formula regarding the private producers who had been farmed out programmes.

All those private producers, who have been producing programmes for the news channel under the sponsored category, and had been given prime time slots initially, have been asked to vacate those time slots.

So, a Nalini Singh with her Ankhon Dekhi will move to a 6 pm slot from next week after being on air at

11:30 pm for some time. When DD News had been re-launched, Singh was given a 10 pm time slot.

Similarly, another news and current affairs show Rozana, produced by Anurradha Prasad's BAG Films,

would move out of a 8:30 pm time slot to an early evening timing. On weekends, BAG-produced Bollywood Batein would occupy the slot that airs Rozana on weekdays.

DD News has justified shifting private producers out of prime time by saying that attractive packages to advertisers and big clients cannot be given if part of the prime time advertising time was in the hands of private producers.

Since the private producers like Singh and Prasad (earlier, Rajat Sharma too did a show for DD News

before opting out to concentrate on his own channel) have got programmes under the sponsored category, they also control several hundreds seconds of advertising time that come to them under the scheme after payment of a minimum guarantee money to DD, which can be sold by them at rates they prefer.

Earlier in the year, DD and All India Radio's parent organization, Prasar Bharati, was considering a proposal to do away with outsourcing of programmes totally. It had stopped giving extensions to shows produced by outside producers for the news channel after their mandatory run.

Though the private producers have not taken verykindly to the new move on the part of DD News, publicly they are keeping their counsel. "We have received the letter communicating a change in timing (of the programme Ankhon Dekhi) today only. Since 6 pm is a bit early for a current affairs show, I guess advertising rates per 10 seconds would be comparatively lower," Nalini Singh told indiantelevision.com.

Singh claimed that the popularity of the show might reduce the attrition of viewers because of change in timing and described the move as one from a "revenue-driven DD".

Meanwhile, DD News is introducing several new shows on prime time soon, including a show at 8 pm, and a weekly wrap up of events and news on weekends. A senior official of DD News claimed that barring those "very high-end products that prefer to be on NDTV, most big advertisers (like Airtel, Hutch and Honda) have returned to DD News."

It seems that DD News is making an extra effort to go those extra miles amidst speculation that the new Congress-led government would down its shutters.

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