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Doordarshan at 58: Will a makeover suffice?

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Doordarshan at 58: Will a makeover suffice?

Doordarshan is all set to take on a new identity. The iconic logo which the state-owned broadcaster has been using since 1959, is all set to change.


Last week, Doordarshan, which runs 23 channels across the country, announced a logo design contest, the winner of which will get a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh. The idea is to revamp the look and feel of the channel and make it more contemporary with a special focus on youth appeal.


“The Doordarshan brand and logo evoke nostalgia in certain generations of the country. Today, the county’s population largely comprises people below 30 years of age and they don’t share the same memory that the earlier generation has of Doordarshan,” said Shashi S Vempati, Chief Executive Officer, Prasar Bharati, which runs Doordarshan and All India Radio.


While the move has been welcomed by many, some critics believe that this makeover alone will not suffice. According to them, the transformation should reflect in the content and work culture of the organization too.


What ails DD?


With the appointment of the new Prasar Bharati CEO, there have been attempts to transform this mammoth organization into a relevant entity. Many measures have already been taken to make it happen. In an earlier interview with exchange4media, Vempati stated that over the last two decades, there were a lot of areas where modernization should have happened. “The pressing need is to make this a corporate for the 21st century and transform it into a media organization that operates in this digital era with modern practices. We have not exploited our potential to the fullest. The reason for this is legacy issues,” he had stated.


The other factor that ails DD is that it’s an ageing organization. Though India may be a young country, the workforce is largely in its fifties. Moreover, in the next five to six years, a big chunk will be retiring. So that itself is a big challenge.


Need for holistic transformation


While the call for a new logo may be a small step in the right direction, in the last few months attempts have been made to infuse a new work culture. Vempati elaborates on this. “We have started with some internal changes. For example, internally, we didn’t have a HR system for a long time. Over the last one year, the HR information system has been created. Though it’s a small step, it’s a big change for the organization and the beginning has been made. Similarly, we are digitizing our land records so that we know what our assets are across the country. There are efforts but we just need to streamline them and bring in an IT structure which doesn’t exist right now,” he says. 


The organization may be on the path to a new identity, however, there are concerns about it actually getting implemented across the board.


Archana Datta, Ex-Director General, All India Radio & Doordarshan, expressed mixed feelings about the transformational journey that Prasar Bharati has undertaken. Sharing her thoughts, she said, “I would say change is always welcome and this is just a symbolic gesture. The fact is that the logo was designed in 1959 and now an attempt is being made to make it more relatable to the youth. However, simply changing the logo will not bring in the transformation overnight. The change has to happen at the culture front too; most importantly, the mindset has to change.”

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