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Doordarshan’s plan to auction programming slots hits wall

MUMBAI: Doordarshan’s decision to sell prime time slots to private production houses could get aborted. The pubcaster’s second attempt at auctioning programming slots on DD National in a transparent manner has come to naught as all three interested production houses have been found ineligible.

The pubcaster had received bids only from three production houses, namely Balaji Telefilms, Keylight Productions and BAG Films & Media, for auction of programming slots on DD National.

The three bidders’ failure to submit all the required documents made them ineligible for the auction.

Supriya-Sahu02“The three bidders who had shown interest in slot auction have not submitted all the required documents and hence have been found to be ineligible,” said DD director general Supriya Sahu.

So, will Doordarshan not go ahead with its new slot-sale policy to private producers? “We are discussing internally on the way forward,” Sahu said.

With the commissioning/self-finance commissioning (SFC) strategy not paying enough dividends, Doordarshan had decided to open up primetime slots for sale to source content from producers.

Earlier, seven production houses had shown interest in DD programming slots, but they were all found to be ineligible as some applicants did not submit the Rs 5,000 fee, while some others did not submit a declaration that they had not been DD defaulters in the past.

Subsequently, the pubcaster came out with an amended request for proposal (RFP) by relaxing certain norms.

As part of the change in the slot sale policy, Prasar Bharati allowed film production companies to participate in the auction of the primetime slots.

DDEarlier, only TV content producers could bid for the slots. It also removed the restriction on regional-language programming houses. Hence, only production houses with experience in Hindi entertainment programming were eligible to bid, but content houses engaged in other languages were also allowed to take primetime slots on Doordarshan.

As per DD’s eligibility criteria, the production house should be an Indian entity incorporated/registered/recognised, as the case may be, under the respective applicable laws and in existence for the last three financial years.

It must have produced at least 200 hours of general entertainment programming (including feature films) in any Indian language telecast in the last three calendar years.

Applicants for weekend slots in the genres of reality, games, quiz, etc. should have produced 100 hours of such content that has been telecast in the last three calendar years. They should have a turnover of at least Rs 3 crore (Rs 30 million) per annum in each of the last three financial years.

Earlier, the minimum hours of content produced to become eligible was 300 hours, while the minimum turnover was fixed at Rs 5 crore (Rs 50 million). Another important criterion to qualify for bids was that the production house should not have been a defaulter of Doordarshan at the time of submission of the bid.

A blacklisting order passed by the Central government/state governments/ any PSU should not be in operation against a bidder at the time of the submission of the qualification bid.

As per the bid document, each slot will be of 30 minutes including up to 24 minutes of programme and free commercial time (FCT) of six minutes. Of the six minutes of FTC, a production house will get four minutes, while two minutes will be retained by DD for promotion of programmes or channels, for advertisements of government departments and PSUs, and for public service messages.

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