22 Sep 2017
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Doordarshan looking to launch channels in new genres

MUMBAI: Doordarshan wants to expand its fleet of channels and is in talks with e-commerce players like Amazon to source old content that had earlier run on the public broadcaster.

Doordarshan is looking to launch channels in kids, music and youth genres. An exercise is also on to revamp its existing channels.

The pubcaster expects revenue to touch Rs 800 crore this fiscal, up from Rs 750 crore in FY16.

“Apart from revamping our existing channels, we are looking to introduce new channels in kids, music and youth genres. In our bouquet, we don’t have anything dedicated to any of these. Prasar Bharati board is very supportive of the plans we have presented so far and agrees that there is a need to introduce these channels,” Doordarshan director general Supriya Sahu said in an interview to Mint.

Doordarshan has decided to create a time band to air iconic shows that were airing earlier on the channel. A step in this direction is the re-run of Shah Rukh Khan’s old TV serial ‘Circus’ on DD National.

“We realize that not only our generation which has grown up on these iconic shows but even the new generation is quite fond of these shows. We have decided to create a time band on our channel where these iconic programmes from our archives could be aired. There are some programmes we don’t have the rights to. I am looking at the entire list of popular old shows like ‘Hum Log’ and the idea is to bring back these shows to DD National. We are checking the digital quality of the programmes and improving the quality for re-telecast. We have just re-started ‘Circus’. We would be able to finalize the modalities in two months. Our programming mix is going to undergo a complete change. A lot of DD’s old content is also available on e-commerce platforms. We are in talks with Amazon. It is already available on Flipkart,” Sahu said in the interview.

Building a digital platform is on the cards. “We have created a small team which is working on the digital arm of Doordarshan. The archival repository of content will be available on the digital platform. It might take 3-4 months. We will put some content for public viewing free of cost, while some will remain behind a paywall,” Sahu told the business daily.

What about lining up investments for the digital terrestrial platform? “We have the full support of government. By 2018, we plan to install 44 transmitters. We are working with IIM Ahmedabad to develop a business model which will help us monetize. At this point, we don’t have any difficulty in achieving the targets,” Sahu told Mint.

Doordarshan runs 23 TV channels and has 67 programme-generating facilities across the country. The broadcaster has auctioned its prime-time programming slots to production houses such as Balaji Telefilms as part of its move to overhaul content and be in competition with private Hindi general entertainment channels.

The pubcaster also operates a free-to-air direct-to-home (DTH) platform, DD Freedish. As reported earlier by TelevisionPost.com, Freedish mopped up Rs 65.5 crore from the sale of 10 slots this month. The highest bid was for Rs 7.3 crore. The latest round of auction has taken the DTH platform’s revenue to Rs 250 crore this fiscal.