The Kerry Packer-Vinay Maloo media joint venture, HFCL Nine Broadcasting, has pitched for a 10-year contract for the Doordarshan Metro channel with Prasar Bharti. It is also pressing its case to run the entire channel, not just the primetime segment, as is the case currently.
In a recent presentation made to the Prasar Bharti board, industry sources said Nine Broadcasting had made it clear that unless it was given a long-term contract, it would not be interested in piecemeal extensions. In case the deal with DD falls through, Nine Broadcasting is seriously exploring other options -- including launching its own channels as well as diverting investments into film production.
Nine Broadcasting makes programmes for three hours of airtime on DD Metro from 7 pm to 10 pm. Its annual contract for the two-time slots it has is scheduled to expire on September 21 and October 16, respectively.
In its counter-offer, Nine Broadcasting is dangling the carrot of a fixed fee-cum-revenue sharing to Doordarshan in case its demand for a long-term contract is accepted. Prasar Bharti CEO Anil Baijal is likely to take a decision in the near future.
Some of Nine Broadcasting family soaps like Kundali and Zindagi Mil Ke Banayenga and television film slot Director's Cut have become quite popular.
For the first time, its programmes have begun to figure in the Top 50 list of programmes (Celebrate with Music was at slot 46 on January 27), while the TRP of its best programme week-to-week has doubled from 1.2 (for all TRP cities) in week 8 to 2.1 in the latest week 20 (source: TAM Media).
While DD Metro has improved its position substantially in All TV Homes on account of Nine Broadcasting's improved programming, figures show it still has a long way to go in cable and satellite homes.