In what could be seen as a waking up of the national broadcaster and a major strategic shift, Doordarshan has decided to shed its image of a mere airtime seller and has started co-producing and marketing its programmes.
Doordarshan, which hitherto was telecasting only sponsored programmes, is now partnering with private producers, co-financing the projects and taking the responsibility of marketing the programmes as well.
“The intention is to produce qualitative software in tune with the current trend and taste of viewers. Previously, as we were only collecting a fee from the producer to telecast their programmes and were not bothered about the marketing, and the quality of programmes got affected. Now, with the new initiative, we are earning three to five times more revenues than previously, while the quality of programmes are improving, too,” said a Prasar Bharti spokesperson.
One can mark the shift in Doordarshan’s attitude from the advertisements in the print media for its first reality show, ‘Kalakaarz’. The programme, which is an acting talent hunt show, has been produced jointly by Doordarshan and Ajay Sharma’s Unit Box. Candidates can register to audition for the programme by SMSing KZ to 455 before September 30.
“With programmes like ‘Indian Idol’ getting huge popularity amongst C&S homes, the non-C&S audience have only heard of it but never got the chance to view a reality programme. Doordarshan, as the public broadcaster, is fulfilling its duty to bring such trendy programmes to its terrestrial viewers who constitute almost half of the total TV homes in India,” the spokesman said.
The programme will be telecast from November 6 on Sundays from 9.30 pm to 10.30 pm, running over 52 episodes. The contestants will be called for audition tests in 13 cities for the final round.
In the true spirit of a reality show, viewers will vote for the contestants through SMS and choose the final winner. The winner will have the chance to perform in a serial on Doordarshan, and will also be a prospective candidate to star in an N Chandra movie.
Ajay Sharma, the producer of the programme, said, “Amol Palekar will act as the analyst in the programme and he will be accompanied by actors like Shahid Kapoor, John Abraham, etc, from episode to episode.”
Elaborating on the initial response to the programme, Sharma said, “The response is quite overwhelming and we have already received lakhs of SMSes from interested candidates. I am happy that we have the largest platform in Doordarshan, which will help us reach out to the largest audience.”
Hindustan Lever Ltd is the presenting sponsor of ‘Kalakaarz’. Doordarshan is spending around 5 per cent of the total revenue generated from the programme, which could go up once the programme went up in the popularity chart, the Prasar Bharti spokesperson said.