Regulators

Prasar Bharati looks at digitizing archives; to seek Rs 250 crore from govt

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MUMBAI: Pubcaster Prasar Bharati is taking another stab at digitizing and monetising the huge archival content catalogue that is lying in the shelves of All India Radio and Doordarshan. And it is all set to make a formal request to the ministry of broadcasting and broadcasting (MIB) for nearly Rs 250 crore to help it achieve what it intends to do. It says included in this archive are prominent speeches of national leaders, popular programmes and music.

Prasar Bharati officials recently made a presentation to the MIB enumerating why it needs to do this. Sources say both Doordarshan and All India Radio have millions of hours of both audio and video content. In fact, All India Radio had digitized some of its content around a decade ago and even monetized some of it by selling CDs. The UK pubcaster BBC is amongst the world’s largest exporters of TV content with worldwide sales of around 400 million Euros. If Prasar Bharati manages even 10 per cent of that, it will more than recover its digitization costs.

The problem, however, is that its archive has not been maintained in the best manner and is on beta and VHS tapes, many of which could be damaged or unrecoverable. And some of it could be have been stolen or lost.

It is also looking at drafting a syndication policy to sell its content worldwide to other media outlets or online directly to consumers.

Says a media observer: "Hopefully, it takes up the task seriously this time and the MIB helps it see it through to conclusion. DD is in danger of becoming a dinosaur; digitisation will allow it to bring new legs to old content which a generation has not seen. It could be put out online or on mobile for consumption apart from finding customers for its clips worldwide."

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