DD goes outdoors for publicity blitz

NEW DELHI: Even as the allies of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance coalition government increase pressure on changes in Doordarshan News, parent organization Prasar Bharati has decided that it would increase promotional activities relating to its big products, a la private sector satellite channels.

For starters, about 50 agencies, specialising in outdoors promotional activities, have made a pitch for the DD account, which may not be financially very big, but is attractive as DD's barter schemes offers many an agency a chance to have airtime on the vast terrestrial network.

Confirming that outdoor marketing agencies like Pioneer and Sellwel have pitched for the DD account, a Prasar Bharati source said, "The final short listing would be done soon, which may include more than one agency. The rationale behind this is that Prasar Bharati should have multiple agencies doing promotional work for various products like big ticket entertainment programming or the Olympics."

The focus on outdoor promotion for programmes to be undertaken by DD, a proposal cleared by the Prasar Barratry board recently, would be kicked off with a blitz revolving around the Gulzaar-directed dramatisation of Premchand's novel `Godan', which would go on air mid-July.

Earlier, DD, or its sibling All India Radio, seldom used to undertake promotional activities related to programmes or events in a big way, except some done on various DD channels. Most of the time, such activities, if any, were funded by private producers of serials on DD.

Though the Prasar Bharati board, increasingly under pressure to effect changes in the organization starting with DD News, has emphasized on the self-funded promotional activities, the commercial department of DD is chalking out a plan whereby expenditure on such initiatives may be shaved off.

For example, DD is looking striking barter deals with outdoor marketing agencies. In lieu of hoarding space given to DD's programmes around Delhi, for instance, the agency concerned could avail of some seconds of commercial airtime on DD channels. DD already has such barter deals in place with some newspapers like Malyalam Manorma and The Indian Express and is looking at concluding similar deals with Internet-based companies too.


Meanwhile, additional director-general (administration) Sanjiv Dutta, who was holding additional charge of ADG (news) in DD, is likely to be relieved of his additional responsibility.

Though no official word is out on this, but sources in Prasar Bharati admitted that some changes would be effected in DD News, including clipping the wings of those people who had been hired from private satellite channels for DD News during the tenure of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led previous coalition government.

Saleha Wasim, a newsreader-cum-fashion & image consultant, has proceeded on leave already. Wasim, formerly with NDTV, is said to have gone to Australia.

DD News' consulting editor, Deepak Chaurasia, is holding fort till now, but talks of his imminent exit are rife in DD. Especially in the light of Communist Party of India (Marxist) , an important ally of the government, taking up cudgels against the so-called pro-BJP people in DD News.

Senior CPM member, Nilotpol Basu, met up with information and broadcasting minister Jaipal Reddy on Friday evening to reiterate his party's stand on several media-related issues, including the printing of the International Herald Tribune and de-saffronisation of Prasar Bharati.

As a fallout of the IHT case, meanwhile, head of Registrar of Newspapers in India (RNI), an organization under the I&B ministry, GD Beliya, has been shunted out of the organization and replaced by a officer of the Indian Information Service, Deepak Sandhu.

The I&B ministry feels that RNI should have been more alert while registering a brand like IHT in India, which has given the publishers of the newspaper in India some legal sanctity.

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