Prasar Bharati, for the first time, has decided to go for cross-channel promotion of its programmes and linking the continuance of a serial/entertainment programme to TV rating points (TRPs). These initiatives are aimed at making viewers aware of the programmes on various Doordarshan channels and also to put a check and balance system whereby serials with low TRPs would not occupy prime time slots.
The cross-channel promos are expected to start within 10 days, and the cost would be borne by Prasar Bharati. In an effort to stop private producers from undercutting rates, the national broadcaster has also floated a new advertising spot buy rate card. The new rate card has sought to rationalise the rates and in some cases even bring down the price for spots.
According to the industry sources the new rate card has failed to enthuse private producers from whom DD has invited programmes under the sponsored category slot on DD Metro. DD airs programmes by private producers after taking a minimum guarantee amount and in return gives a certain amount of free commercial (air) time to producers to hawk to earn revenue .
The efforts to rejuvenate DD is part of a bigger plan to neutralise criticism on falling revenues and lackluster performance.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology in its latest report, tabled in Parliament recently, for example, has suggested that Prasar Bharati should tighten its news bulletins on the DD News channel by cutting down the time spent on showing the montage, Doordarshan logo and other scenes which have little relevance to the news and instead show more of socially relevant messages.
While praising Prasar Bharati’s efforts in starting a separate news and current affairs channel, the committee expressed concern that “the viewership of such a vital channel is very insignificant. “All necessary measures to increase its viewership besides providing necessary facilities to cable operators for downlinking and screening the channel and bringing the same under the mass carrier obligation clause of Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act be taken expeditiously with a view to popularise the news channel,” it said.