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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Prasar Bharati plans to auction feature film slots

The move comes as a part of Prasar Bharati’s efforts to bring transparency into the contracts between Doordarshan and production houses.After putting its prime time programming slots up for auction, public broadcaster Prasar Bharati is now planning to auction feature film slots on its national channel.
Currently, the broadcaster has a policy of purchasing one-time telecast rights to movies and generating advertising revenue. Doordarshan has five slots in a week (of about three hours each) reserved for commercial films every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. One slot is divided over two weekdays—Tuesday and Wednesday.

“Once the slot sale policy for prime time programming is in place, Doordarshan will be working aggressively on film slot auctioning,” said a top official at Doordarshan, asking not to be named.This move comes as a part of Prasar Bharati’s efforts to bring transparency into the contracts between Doordarshan and production houses.To be sure, the broadcaster has been planning to streamline the telecast of films since 2013 after an internal report highlighted financial irregularities in the deals between Doordarshan employees and film producers.The broadcaster had also referred the matter to its internal vigilance division to keep a check on such deals and scrutinize past agreements. The division had submitted a detailed report to Prasar Bharati and named certain movie rights’ owners to be promoting cartelization in DD while procuring films.

Sanjay Dwivedi, group chief financial officer at Balaji Telefilms Ltd, which has worked with Doordarshan in the past, said it was premature to comment on the move. “We are awaiting the details of the policy and will evaluate it on the basis of merit,” said Dwivedi. Balaji Telefilms produces films in addition to being a TV content company.Jayantilal Gada, chairman of film-producing and presenting company Pen India, says that this strategy might be risky. “There is a lot of competition in the market with movie channels and digital platforms coming in. In such a scenario, it would be hard for a producer or a distributor to be associated with one slot-selling channel,” he said, adding that the move may not work.  

Prasar Bharati had put up prime-time programming slots between 7pm and 11pm on DD National on auction on16 May. The broadcaster had to cancel the planned auction on 14 July after it found that some potential bidders did not meet the eligibility criteria.Prasar Bharati’s board has now asked the network to restart the auction process and invite fresh applications from production houses. The public service broadcaster is planning to conclude the entire process by the end of October.


Forwarded By: Jainender Nigam,PB NewsDesk ,prasarbharati.newsdesk@gmail.com

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