In an interesting development, BBC has entered into a commercial deal with All India Radio (AIR). BBC World Service has bought a weekly time slot on AIR FM1 for a lifestyle programme—BBC Extra. Away from hard-core news stuff, this programme will take up anything from film-based interviews to debates on current issues such as the Delhi Metro to fashion tips. In a soft launch, the first show went on air Friday last.
A hard launch of BBC Extra is expected sometime in the new year.
Interestingly, several other media companies, including television channels, have slots on AIR FM. But, it is for the first time that BBC has struck a commercial deal with AIR for a programme slot.
According to AIR sources, BBC was paying Rs 8,000 for every programme (30 minutes) and there will be no ad spots on the show. Under the sponsored format, BBC Extra falls in category I.
BBC was recently in news for creating a single integrated news and information division, bringing BBC World Service (radio), BBC World (TV) and BBC News Online together.