DD strikes Rs 11 million barter deal with Express group

NEW DELHI: Prasar Bharati, overseeing the functioning of Doordarshan and All India Radio, is slowly starting to shed its `babu' (bureaucratic) attitude. It is increasingly going in for deals that are more in tune with the changing scenario. India's pubcaster Doordarshan has now commenced inking barter deals with print media publications for advertising purposes, something which private satellite channels do from time to time.

In one of the biggest deals till now, DD has signed a barter deal with The Indian Express group (controlled by Vivek Goenka) worth about Rs. 11.5 million.

The barter deal will give DD the option of advertising in various editions of the Express on various subjects, including special programming. In return, the Express group can use airtime on DD channels, including DD National, to put out its own ads on air for wider reach.

The Express group does advertise outside its own newspapers and magazines and has run a series of ad campaigns on satellite channels like Star News and CNBC India. Mostly, these campaigns have revolved round the brand Express and also the award which the newspaper group gives out annually for showing courage in news reporting - something which the newspaper, founded by the firebrand newspaper baron Ramnath Goenka, has always prided itself for.

Some other barter deals, according to Prasar Bharati sources, which have been sewn up by DD include those with Outlook magazine (about Rs 6.5 million), Malayala Manorama and South India-based Varta.

The sources indicated that negotiations are on with other regional language dailies like the Dainik Bhaskar, the largest circulating Hindi language daily published from several centres in Central and North India.

The rationale behind such barter deals is that DD has airtime at its disposal that can be hawked to extend and spruce up DD's image. The proposal got the nod of the Prasar Bharati board some time back.

This initiative is part of the suggestion of the marketing advisory committee of DD headed by marketing whiz and former chief executive of Zee Telefilms, Vijay Jindal.

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