The Prasar Bharati Board plans to give an 18-month extension to HFCL-Nine Broadcasting for the prime time 7PM to 10PM slot in DD Metro with the same financial consideration as applicable currently. The company will be given the option to extend their contract by 6-month, ending March 2002 or by another 18 months, up to March 2003. Orders to that effect will be issued to the company by early next week.
HFCL-Nine Broadcasting currently pays Rs 121-crore for the three-hour of airtime on DD Metro. The annual contract for the two slots - 7PM to 9PM and 9PM – 10PM -- is scheduled to expire on September and October 2001, respectively.
HFCL-Nine Broadcasting maintained that as per the existing contractual obligation, it would take the company at least three years to break-even from the three-hour slot.
The company also claims that as a result of its efforts Television Viewer Rating for the Metro channel, have gone up three-fold in the last eight months while revenue from the slot have gone up five-fold.
With HFCL-Nine Broadcasting having raised serious doubts over viability of the venture in the short-run, it remains to be seen if these terms and conditions will be acceptable to the company.
The Prasar Bharati has already debarred HFCL-Nine Broadcasting from bidding for the late night slot of 10 PM – 12.30 PM.