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Doordarshan and All India Radio Gets Fresh Funds from Government Upto Rs 850 Crores

Doordarshan and All India Radio Gets Fresh Funds from Government Upto Rs 850 Crores

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DD and AIR, both owned by Prasar Bharti, have drafted elaborate plans to enhance broadcast capacity, improve infrastructure and increase the expanse of coverage to match the viewership and listenership of private television and radio companies.

Doordarshan (DD) and All India Radio (AIR) are embarking on a ₹850 crore plan to improve their infrastructure, expand coverage and strengthen content in an attempt to compete better with private television channels and radio stations, people familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.

They added that the outlay has been approved by the finance ministry. The money sanctioned to both entities will be across financial years 2018-19 and 2019-20.

One of the people familiar with the developments, an official in the ministry of Information and broadcasting, said DD has been sanctioned Rs 200 crore exclusively for overhauling its content.

“As a public broadcaster, DD has the responsibility to air programmes and messages that are socially relevant, which private broadcasters don’t do. DD cannot put out programmes with a certain content that can be money-spinners for some private channels. So the idea is to generate content that can grab eye-balls but still have a healthy mix of issues such as health, empowerment, environment and social justice,” the official added.

DD, which runs 23 channels in the country, earned Rs 318.06 crore from government advertisements and Rs 157.59 crore from corporate ads during the year ended 31 March, 2017. The TV advertising market with close to 900 private TV channels generated an estimated advertising revenue of Rs 27,671 crore. The figure was expected to grow 13% in 2018, according to a forecast by WPP-owned media agency GroupM in its report This Year Next Year (TYNY).

The broadcaster will rely on both in-house talent and expertise from outside to rejig its content and make programmes more commercially viable as well as popular, the ministry official cited above said.

DD will also phase out obsolete technology and practices. “DD already has state-of-the-art equipment and studios, but an assessment will be done of the technologically- aged infrastructure and manpower,” the official said.

At AIR, the funds will be used for strengthening the broadcaster in border areas and those affected by left-wing extremism, expanding FM services to more cities, and upgrading technology (including bringing FM on digital platforms).

“The strategy for revamping the technology and production is ready and will be discussed by the Prasar Bharati board when it meets next,” said a second government official, adding the date for the meeting has not been finalised yet.

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