Doordarshan re-hauls programming; to launch 5 new shows

MUMBAI: Independence Day will herald the launch of several new television serials on Doordarshan National with different shows across different genres. The pubcaster has lined up at least five new shows and will also be putting in a concerted effort to promote them across platforms. The move is seen as an attempt to regain eyeballs and also keep up with the changing taste of viewers.

DD National ADG Deepa Chandra says, “Our aim behind the launch of fresh programming is to attain a renewed and appealing look. This time the prime time band is not just focused on women-oriented programmes, but also bringing shows of different genres in three phases to allure masses.”

What makes these shows different from Doordarshan’s earlier programming is the quality of content. “The earlier shows were not a high value production. We are spending at least five times more than what we used to spend on these shows. Each program is going to cost us somewhere around Rs 8 - 8.5 lakh per episode, which is a big number for a public service broadcaster. However, our aim was to first concentrate on content, which will only come if we are willing to shell out good money. The presentation and the type of stories are also very different from what we have so far attempted,” shares Doordarshan Mumbai additional director general Mukesh Sharma.

When it comes to marketing, Sharma admits that Doordarshan’s purse size is limited and the pubcaster cannot spend in the way privately owned entertainment channels do. “The marketing is mostly controlled from the Delhi Kendra, and they do have some idea. The fact remains that unless you have a sustained marketing effort, the results won’t show. You cannot have a thrust of marketing at the launch, which gradually dies out when the show progresses. So that is one of our concerns, which we plan to deal with. Another issue is that we are a public broadcaster, we cannot just hire anyone for our marketing efforts. There are tenders and quotations involved and after that I have to go for the lowest rates available. So there is a limitation as to what all we can try with our publicity,” points out Sharma.

Having said that, Doordarshan has nonetheless put in place a planned and systematic effort for marketing its shows, starting with press conferences, hoardings and print media.

“I have personally called at least eleven editors of print media and asked for their support in promoting our shows. And I plan on further promoting the shows through various other reality shows we host at DD Sahyadri. Apart from that, we are putting up hoardings across cities at the right places. We are trying to do radio publicity on FM channels and through the mediums available to Prasar Bharati,” informs Sharma.

The five new shows come as breath of fresh air, and will be the first amongst the channel’s steps to re-haul its programming to suit the changing taste of viewers. The step is also an effort to redeem the channel’s falling position on the ratings chart.

When asked whether the new shows were a conscious effort to boost its failing BARC ratings, Sharma says, “In a government organisation nothing can happen in a jiffy. We had plans to launch fresh content with good production value for a while now and after these five shows, more will follow. It is a mere coincidence that the shows are launching after a few weeks of the BARC ratings releasing.”

Aimed at audience of a varied age group; from non-fiction talk show to romance drama series meant for the super prime time slot, the new shows comfortably fit to entertain both the young and old in a family.

The story of the independence struggle is brought out through the story of Ranbheri, a newspaper that not only played a significant role in the freedom struggle in the 1940s but also joined the different voices of the freedom fighters who were slowly and stealthily working towards the overthrow of the tyrannical British Rule. The one hour show scheduled to start from 15 August at 8 pm, will be telecast on Saturdays and Sundays to tell the unheard stories of unsung heroes of the freedom struggle and how media had played a major role during the independence struggle in India.

Starting from 16 August, DD National has scheduled a chat show called Koshish Se Qamyabi Tak at 10:30 am, to be telecast every Sunday, anchored by the veteran Kiran Juneja who herself got a major break in DD through Buniyaad. She will take viewers through a journey of the lives of cine stars, from their struggles to their successes. The stories would feature notable faces from Bollywood like Madhur Bhandarkar, Parineeti Chopra and Ayushmann Khurrana amongst others.

This is followed by Dil Ko Aaj Fir Jeene Ki Tamanna Hai from 17 August at 9 pm, Monday to Friday. The show is a soft, sentimental and tasteful love story of a small town girl from Patiala and a city bred boy who meet through a musical reality show where the girl's dreams intertwine with the boy's ambitions and thus unfolds their journey of love through many twists and turns.

Beti Ka Farz is the story of a married woman who is an ideal daughter in law till she decides to fulfill her duty and responsibility as a daughter of her ailing and needy parents. Thus starts the never ending struggle and trial of this daughter-in-law. The show asks many pertinent questions about the rights of a daughter who wishes to help and care for her parents just like any other son even after she gets married and goes to her husband's home. This daily unconventional show will be telecast from 24 August at 10 pm, Monday to Thursday.

On the other hand, Annu Kappor brings to Doordarshan National his 'slice of life' story of people over forty, tracing their angst, frustrations, emotions, ambitions, dreams and struggles. The show takes the viewers through the experiences of a few such men, that are ' realistic' and 'heart touching' and every person in the viewers would relate to their emotions portrayed in this daily show. 40 Plus begins from 31 August at 8 pm, Monday to Friday.

Apart from Koshish Se Qamyabi Tak, which is entirely home produced by Prasar Bharati, the rest of the four shows have been commissioned to well known production houses including BBC Worldwide Productions India.

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