Prasar Bharati is undertaking various initiatives like pilot project for mobile TV service, revamp of their direct-to-home service DD Direct Plus, rolling out of high definition TV, converting the Urdu channel into a 24-hour one, and promoting Indian classics through the various channels.
The pilot project for trial run of mobile TV service in Delhi will provide DD channels to mobile phones in the coverage area. Nokia India has entered into a pilot tender with DD to launch this service, which would make DD channels available on select high-end Nokia handset models.
BS Lalli, CEO, Prasar Bharti, said, “Currently, we are telecasting eight channels of DD on mobile TV. We may increase the number of channels to 15 after the commercial launch, which is scheduled to take place in the next six months. Our effort is to be vendor neutral. During the pilot phase, DD will test the reception quality of the broadcast coverage. We are only supplying technology. However, we are facing issues on packaging, formatting, changes in the periodic timings, etc.”
Regarding the DTH service, Lalli explained that Prasar Bharti has been running 33 free to air channels on DD Direct Plus. “We are revamping the DTH service by increasing the number of channels to 50. We want to bring in some channels through DTH, which would bring us some revenue. Except for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the entire country is covered through DD’s free-to-air DTH service.”
The digital terrestrial transmission by Doordarshan, High Definition TV, should be launched with a slogan ‘Digital Delhi by 2010’ to coincide with the Commonwealth Games in that year. HDTV would be introduced in a phased manner starting from Delhi in 2008-09, which would extend to all the six mega cities.
Lalli also explained that the Urdu channel would become a round-the-clock service by mid-2007. DD has increased the telecast from 7am to 11pm. “We plan to promote Indian classics in all regional languages, including Hindi and Urdu. Also, we will be rope in producers to convert novels, drama, and children novels into films. These will be aired on the regional channels an hour per week,” Lalli added.
Lalli explained that Prasar Bharati had aimed to receive revenue of Rs 2 crore through the coverage of the ICC World Cup on All India Radio. However, they have already generated Rs 9 crore.