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Saturday, October 24, 2015

DD is set to outsource more programs - JS Mathur

Mr. JS Mathur, Special Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, said that the Prasar Bharti Board which met recently has decided in principle to outsource various slots in Doordarshan to private parties to enhance quality and monetization in the media and entertainment (M&E) sector. The details of the proposal is being worked out by the Prasar Bharti Board and would be finalized soon.

Mr Mathur was addressing the CII Big Picture Summit Session on Enabling Policy Framework for Indian M&E sector. The decision, when implemented, would give a boost to many segments in the industry particularly the animation sector. There is scope for making films directed at children; an idea was floated for promoting kids’ channels through CSR funding. This initiative, he pointed out, would go a long way in meeting the growing need for making films directed at certain segments like children, rural people and other social strata of the society. 

Responding to various taxation issues raised by other panelists from industry, Mr. Mathur said that issues regarding wage boards, advertisement rates etc, were under various levels of litigation and hoped that those would be sorted out in course of time.

Reacting to demands from the panelists to have freedom for independent news bulletins in FM radio, which presently is restricted to broadcast of All India Radio news bulletins for a specified time, Mr Mathur felt that this was a dynamic issue which was being looked into by the Government. Echoing the views expressed by the Minister of State for I&B Mr. Rathore, he said that there has been incremental liberalization in the radio policy of the Government . For instance, in the Phase III auctions, news was allowed which was not the case in Phase II auctions. “Government is alive to the demands of the industry and would calibrate the policies accordingly,” he added.

Mr Sunil Singhal, Advisor, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), said that there was need for segregating carriage fee and placement fee. He said that issues relating to carriage fee can be discussed separately since the Government was also keen to have right monetization of the M&E sector through advertisements and subscription. In the meantime, he said that the consumer interests should be assigned highest importance to broaden the reach of the digital media. This would also increase the monetization of the sector. In this regard, he suggested the need for toll free numbers for consumers to reduce the burden on them since some of the calls they have to make to the call centers are chargeable. 

Mentioning that the digitization of the M&E sector would be complete by 2016, Mr. Singhal observed that the consumer should get full choice with regard to channels he could watch and pay for. The packages should be evolved accordingly taking their larger interests. 

Mr Rajeev Singh, Member (Finance), Prasar Bharati, mentioned that there are 800 plus channels in the country now but only a limited number of people have got access to TV and FM ratio. The monetization of the segment should aim at increasing the reach of the digital network and producing quality and scalable programs directed at various segments of the society. 


Contributed by: Jainender Nigam,PB NewsDesk,prasarbharati.newsdesk@gmail.com

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