The earnings of Doordarshan have increased by 47.8 per cent between the period April 2000-January 2001, as compared to the same period in 1999-2000. While the total earnings of Doordarshan through commercials during this period is a sizeable Rs 510.01 crore, the national broadcaster has reasons to fret. For, the drop in revenue earned by quite a few regional kendras has been drastic.
Private channels, especially in South India seem to have significantly eaten into the share of Doordarshan’s revenues through commercials. Take Chennai for example, where Sun TV is widespread. Last year, the kendra earned Rs 12.39 crore through commercials. The figure this year is a measly Rs 4.15 crore.
Bangalore is only marginally better than its neighbour. It picked up only Rs 5.73 crore as compared to a fat Rs 10.07 crore last year. Hyderabad and Trivandrum, though ahead of their other Southern counterparts, were still short of the earnings they made last year.
It is therefore, quite evident that Southern DD Kendras have given way to the plethora of strong private channels like Sun, Eenadu, Udaya, Gemini, Asianet and others. These channels have earned half the amount earned last year through commercials. Mumbai also shows a significant decrease.
But the most worrisome part for Doordarshan should be the marginal increase in revenue earned by DD National Network. Despite its phenomenal reach and ever exploding viewership, it has been able to earn only Rs 11 crore more than it did last year through commercials. While it mopped up Rs 211.87 crore between 1999-2000 January, its revenue between 2000-2001 January only notched up to Rs 222.89 crore.
Meanwhile, it is DD-2 or the Metro channel which has performed creditably. While it earned Rs 33.95 crore last years, this year, it has more than doubled its revenues to Rs 69.37. Government sources disclose that the channel made Rs 139.17 crore through commercials this year, but the figure for the corresponding period last year is not available.
According to the comparative figures on gross revenue for 1999-2001, DD which collected Rs 344.97 last year has managed to mop up Rs 510.01 crore up to January 2001. That is an increase of Rs 165.04 crore.
However, if the DD-Sports figure were to be excluded, then DD would have only made Rs 20 crore over last year in revenues.