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Doordarshan to change content sourcing strategy, primetime slots to be up for sale

NEW DELHI: Pubcaster Doordarshan will have a new content sourcing policy as it seeks to push up viewership for the channel.

With the commissioning/self-finance commissioning (SFC) strategy not paying enough dividends, Doordarshan will open up primetime slots for sale to source content from producers, Minister of State in the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said.

Rajyavardhan RathoreRathore said that the strategy of acquiring programmes through commissioning/SFC route had led to a dip in viewership of DD National and consequently decreasing revenue.

Therefore, the option of sale of time slot/time bands on DD National as a strategy to source high-quality content at no cost has been considered, he noted.

“The SFC scheme was launched in 2005 and it worked well for DD in the initial years. However, in recent years SFC serials did not deliver either on increasing viewership or on revenue. This prompted Prasar Bharati board to advise DD to proceed with an alternative policy by opening up primetime slots for sale,” Rathore said.

The MoS MIB further stated that DD was directed to come up with a slot sale policy so that genuine external and creative professionals can mount their programmes on DD channels through slot purchase.

In this scheme, DD would stop financing production through ‘pay-out’ modes and instead have revenue assurance in the form of a slot fee, he added.

The policy envisages that producers be made stakeholders in the scheme. They would invest in the content and recover the same from the market through sale of associated commercial time.

In such a situation, market forces would ensure that high standards are maintained for the content mounted while also assuring revenue for Doordarshan, he noted.

Rathore also stated that the revenue of Akashvani has gone up substantially but Doordarshan has suffered a setback because of a sharp drop in the number of terrestrial TV viewers. He was replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

Table DD storyOn the performance of DD and Akashvani, he said that television rating points (TRP) and viewership details of DD National as per Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) data including rural viewership initiated in October 2015 fluctuate on weekly basis. As far as Akashvani is concerned, there is no mechanism to measure TRP at regular intervals, he said.

Doordarshan, he said, is improving on its programming by reviewing the content and quality from time to time with the view to sustain the interest of the viewers. Currently, Doordarshan procures content through various notified schemes. It is reprioritising its current approach with a new policy on slot sales.

The Prasar Bharati board has also decided to invite good external programmes to be telecast on all its channels in different phases, he said.

He listed down measures taken and proposed to be taken to boost listenership and revenue of All India Radio (AIR). They are as follows:

  • FMisation to supplement broadcast on medium wave to enable access through mobile devices and car radios
  • Optimisation of transmission hours
  • Relay of Vividh Bharati service from 10 am to 5 pm on local radio station networks
  • Switching over of Vividh Bharati service at the four metros from medium wave to FM mode
  • Constant and close monitoring of performance of CSU and CBS centres on a weekly basis
  • Ensuring support and cooperation of heads of stations to tap their revenue-yielding potential
  • Replacement of old, worn-out transmitters by solid state
  • Creating a mechanism to contain transmission breakdowns
  • Broadcasting interactive programmes to increase direct participation of the listeners through phone-in devices and field recordings
  • An all-India toll free number to enable present/prospective clients to interact with AIR functionaries
  • Online booking facility through virtual registered advertising agency.