Prasar Bharati revenues cross Rs 12 billion in FY06

NEW DELHI: "We have been doing quite well this financial year and expect to close our books in March 2006 with Rs 10 billion (Rs 1,000 crore) in total revenue." This was what KS Sarma, the CEO of Indian pubcaster Prasar Bharati, said in an interview to late last year.

Well, the pubcaster has crossed that figure by a good distance. Prasar Bharati's revenues for the fiscal 2005-2006 ended 31 March are Rs 12.38 billion, up a whopping 67 per cent from the Rs 8.31 billion it earned last year.

Of this, national broadcaster Doordarshan accounted for Rs 9.6 billion (Rs 968 crore) riding heavily on cricket and Hindi movies. Most significant was the growth on the radio side though, with All India Radio (AIR) registering a 59.6 per cent jump in revenues at Rs 2.7 billion (Rs 270 crore).

In the FY 2004-05 fiscal, Prasar Bharati mopped up revenues of Rs. 8.31 billion with DD contributing Rs 6.70 billion and AIR's share being Rs 1.61 billion.
In a true corporate style at a press conference organised at five-star hotel here today, Sarma grandly --- and proudly--- said, "We have managed to establish systems that will make it (revenue) happen."

Pointing out that the revenue target for 2006-07 is Rs 15 billion, Sarma said sustained initiatives on various front, including marketing and programming, has helped the organisation cross the magical Rs. 10 billion revenue mark.

"This, in spite of lax implementation of regulatory framework relating to mandatory carriage of three DD channels on prime bands on all cable networks," he added.

Concurring with Sarma on programming front, DD director-general Navin Kumar said the organization took upon itself to "work on viewership of DD in C&S homes."

Hammering in a point, Kumar flaunted TAM figures (TG: CS 4+; HSM; Period: 2004 and 2005) that shows DD national has a market share of 57 per cent amongst all Hindi language general entertainment. The nearest rival was Star Plus, which had a share of 23 per cent.

But what is surprising as per TAM data quoted by Kumar was that during the period under review, while DD National share rose marginally by one percent, the likes of Star Plus, Sony and Zee TV shed market share.

"This makes it clear that in a scenario when others were slipping primarily due to market share being taken away by news channels, DD National actually registered a small growth in viewership,"Kumar said.


How does some of the major segments stack up as far as their revenue share go?

Though during 2005-06 the gain in viewership because of cricket on DD has been marginal --- as per Kumar's own admissions --- the game contributed slightly over Rs 3 billion (Rs 300 crore) to the overall kitty.

The government and other non-profit organisations like National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) contributed almost Rs 1.91 billion to Prasar Bharati kitty as part of the development communication division of share.

Feature films, aired five days every week on different slots under a variety of themes, garnered revenues worth Rs 1.1 billion. "Even a dead slot like Sunday mid-day has started yielding revenue on films," Prasar Bharati deputy director general Vijaylakshmi Chabbra said.

Under the self-finance commissioned scheme introduced by DD middle of 2005 where the organisation markets programmes after paying outside producers their remuneration, DD managed to mop up about Rs 500 million.

According to Chabbra, "DD is doing in-house marketing of programmes has had phenomenal affect on our revenues. We have successfully managed to arrest the trend of under selling of DD air time in the market by private producers."

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