With an annual revenue growth of 48 per cent, Prasar Bharati has every reason to cheer. And no one can blame its CEO, K S Sarma, for being in a congratulatory mode while declaring the annual results of Prasar Bharati at a press meet in the Capital on Wednesday.
In the year ending March 31, 2006, the public broadcaster has garnered revenues of Rs 1,230 crore as against Rs 831.47 crore in FY 2004-05. Doordarshan’s revenues have gone up from Rs 670.44 crore to Rs 960 crore, while that of All India Radio have increased from Rs 161.03 crore to Rs Rs 271 crore.
“When I joined Prasar Bharati four years ago, the revenue of Doordarshan was Rs 525 crore and that of AIR was Rs 80 crore. I am more than happy with the present achievement,” an elated Sarma told mediapersons.
Sarma also gave credit to a bunch of his teammates, whose collective efforts have brought this turnaround, occasionally asking them to stand up for the audience.
Sarma especially thanked the six marketing divisions of DD spread across Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, which are now doing in-house marketing as against the previous practice where DD airtimes were sold by private parties giving nothing in return to the broadcaster’s coffer. “Now, we won and market 90 per cent of our prime time programmes on Doordarshan, which has become a healthy revenue steam for us,” said Sarma.
Like DD, AIR, too, has also seen some significant changes in a year’s time. Apart from the fact that its revenue grew by 68 per cent, the broadcaster has succeeded in encouraging the Central and State Governments to increasingly use the medium to reach out to the rural masses to inform them about the benefits of their policies and programmes. “That’s how AIR now earns Rs 60 crore from the Central government alone,” said Brijeshwar Singh, DG, AIR.
Vividh Bharti has contributed Rs 100 crore to AIR in the last financial year. Stations like Bangalore were now earning more than the private FM radio stations in the city, while stations like Patna and Jaipur had also seen their revenues jumping more than 150 per cent, Sarma said.
Self-congratulation apart, it’s still a long way to go for the public broadcaster to come out of the government’s shadows, at least in financial matters. It’s expenditures still stand somewhere between Rs 1,700 crore and Rs 1,800 crore, with a deficit of around Rs 500 crore. As Sarma admitted, “Prasar Bharati needs another 10 years to be self-sufficient.”