Future of digital broadcasting is moving towards direct to mobile: Prasar Bharati CEO

MUMBAI: The future of digital broadcasting is moving towards direct to mobile (DTM) from direct to home (DTH) where the people will get to stream content without worrying about data plans and buffering, Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati said at IIT Kanpur while speaking on ‘Digital Broadcasting and Future of Journalism’.

To make the public broadcasting available for the youth, Prasar Bharati is taking lots of initiative to increase its presence in digital space. One of the shifts that started few years back was to move to digital terrestrial TV.

“Today about 19 cities have digital terrestrial TV. We have significantly increased our presence in the on-demand space. We have two news channels which have million plus subscribers on YouTube. Rajya Sabha TV has two million plus subscribers on YouTube while DD news has a million plus subscribers. These are the organic growth based on the merit of the content and demands of such kind of content online,” he highlighted.

Speaking about the future of digital broadcasting, he said that the future of digital broadcasting is in convergence where the broadcaster and the broadband will have to converge on the end user device.

“We will probably have new class of services just like today we have DTH, tomorrow we will have DTM, were people will get to stream content without have to worry about 3G, 4G or 5G, data plans, buffering and none of that. The broadcast infrastructure has converged with telecom infrastructure. This is the potential reality which is in pipeline.”

Vempati also stated that there is a startup based out of Bangalore which is building a mobile chip set for the convergence between broadcast and broadband. “Big majors from Korea and US are working closely with the startup. This shows how startup India, Make in India and Digital India can come together to create DTM future, where one can directly receive terrestrial TV Signals and on demand content on the mobile phone.”

The pubcaster also provides content in multiple languages and dialects on YouTube, which has also helped it to expand the digital reach. “We have content on languages that probably you have not heard of like Garo, Khasi from the North East, Dogri, Gojri from Kashmir and several other dialects from Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. So there is news in these languages being available on YouTube every single day. This has vastly expanded the digital footprint of the public broadcaster. Today we have more 270 active social media handles,” informed Vempati.

Prasar Bharati is working on is to create an app to drive the talent pool, where the talent can be matched with the needs. “There are a large number of talents that we hire on assignment basis. Today, the entire process of engaging them happens in a very manual fashion. One of the thought is what if we create a platform where we can match the talent with the needs. So the discretion is eliminated and we bring in required transparency and accountability,” said Vempati.

Prasar Bharati is also focusing on becoming the hub for global innovation on technology side or creative side. The public broadcaster has taken a baby step is this direction by signing a MoU with Korean Public Broadcaster (KBS). As part of the MoU, DD India will be carried in Korea on the MyK OTT platform while KBS World on Free Dish.

“Our intention behind creating DD India was not to fight those domestic battles that the private sector does. We had the bigger purpose for it and that was of taking DD India to the global level. We took a first step by signing a deal with Korean Public Broadcaster (KBS). We have a long way to go,” he stated.

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