Prasar Bharti CEO KS Sarma was quoted in a PTI report as saying
that the revamp process would include modernisation and digitalisation
of entire operations. This would catapult AIR and DD to the front
rung among the channels.
AIR and DD spend Rs 19 billion every year against revenues of Rs
9 billion including a Rs 2 billion grant from the government. In
order to lower expenses incurred by the national broadcaster Prasar
Bharati is said to be looking into the possibility of automating
the operations of some of the stations.
DD is back in the limelight this year. A large part of this can
be attributed to its coverage of the Iraq conflict. The broadcaster
had put its plans for live coverage in place before the conflict
had broken out. DD had commissioned the war reportage to Third Eye
for Rs 500,000 a day for half-hour coverage. The pay off came in
the form of an 11-million viewer share. This left the other channels
scrambling for crumbs with shares hovering around the two million
mark. This is remarkable as in the not too distant past DD has often
been accused of being behind with up to date events due to the bureaucratic
interference. Like its western counterparts BBC and CNN the grandfather
of indian television became tech savvy by using the portable newsgathering
solution vid'linkMOBILE. The system will be used for domestic and
In addition, its coverage of last months cricket World Cup put
it back in the good books of the advertising community. The icing
on the cake was the India-Pak match on 1 March. The match, which
was in a sense a final in itself (among subcontinent viewers anyway)
was a hit across cities and towns, delivering a high TRP of 15.37
in all TV Homes and 21.78 in cable & satellite homes, according
to TAM data. Looking ahead, in a CAS regime, while Star and Sony
are worried about losses, DD looks all set to gain in prominence.
Meanwhile, in a related development on the radio front Sarma said
that the FM transmission facility currently available in the metro
cities would extend to another 500 locations in the country, including
Hyderabad. It is another matter as to whether the government will
examine and rationalise the license fee structure. If that doesn't
happen expect a carnage.
The I&B Ministry headed by Ravi Shankar Prasad has also decided
to allow universities, residential schools and NGOs set up community
radio stations of 50 watts capacity operational in 5 kms area.