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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Unlike competitors, DD shows pure news: A Surya Prakash


More than two years ago, journalist and Vivekananda International Foundation fellow A Surya Prakash took over India's public service broadcaster Prasar Bharati as its chairman. In an exclusive interview to DNA's Amrita Nayak Dutta, he talks about Prasar Bharati's autonomy goal, the makeover of Doordarshan (DD) News and its high viewership among English news viewers since then. Excerpts: 

In the two and a half years of your chairmanship, how far did Prasar Bharati's autonomy progress?
We are on the road to autonomy. Unlike the Indira Gandhi era where the public broadcaster was under the strict control of the government, it is by the will of the Parliament that Prasar Bharati became an autonomous corporation. There are, of course, certain issues which need to be addressed. The government is giving a huge budgetary support of nearly Rs 3,000 crore to Prasar Bharati, which is not financially viable. There are several vacancies in DD and AIR (All India Radio). About 95 per cent of DD and AIR's workforce comes from the government. We are revamping DD and AIR and raising the quality of general entertainment by inculcating more interesting and innovative programmes, so that better revenue is generated. A recruitment board also needs to be formed for filling up the vacancies in DD and AIR. All 23 channels of DD should be headed by top-ranking media professionals hired from the market. As far as radio is concerned, our radio FM channels are also doing very well. Among all available radio channels, only AIR has the best reach and last-mile connectivity.

How is DD standing up against competition from the many private channels in the fray?
The transformation of DD News has been commendable. It is no longer just a government channel as it used to once be. A lot of work has gone into improving the look and feel of the channel. We have a variety of interesting news stories and debates. We have correspondents and anchors and they are doing a good job. What DD News shows in its prime-time slots is pure news and not views. A lot of private channels have strayed from their core objective of showing news by airing views more. Even the BARC data shows that DD News has garnered the maximum viewership among English news viewers, leaving others way behind. So, competition has gone off-track for us.

What about other DD general entertainment channels?
For other channels of DD, we are roping in top production companies to improve the quality of general entertainment content. We started slot sales (for auctioning DD's prime-time slots) a few months ago and roped in two top production companies. We will be adding a lot of fresh new content in DD National. DD Arun Prabha will be launched in the northeast this year and will have interesting and innovative programmes. A separate channel for kids is also in the pipeline. In the last financial year, DD exceeded its annual revenue target of Rs 800 crore.

Prasar Bharati is also putting focus on DD Kashmir. What are the kinds of programmes you are planning to broadcast through the channel in J&K?
DD Kashmir is undergoing a major makeover. The channel will soon have several innovative, youth-oriented programmes including daily soaps and reality shows, music, food shows as well as talent hunt shows that will encourage the local youth to participate.
The government has allocated Rs 80 crore to DD Kisan in this year's budget. There are complaints about the entertainment-information ratio of programmes on the channel. DD Kisan broadcasts several innovative programmes dedicated to farmers and informative programmes on various government schemes, such as fasal bima yojna, soil health card scheme and organic farming, meant for the agricultural community. As far as entertainment programmes and films are concerned, farmers need entertainment too, otherwise it becomes boring. We have plans of producing more engaging content for farmers on different new technologies of farming and will also improve the quality of programmes.

Source and Credit :- http://www.dnaindia.com/money/interview-unlike-competitors-dd-shows-pure-news-a-surya-prakash-2433021
Forwarded by :- Shri. Jainendra Nigam PB News Desk,prasarbharati.newsdesk@gmail.com

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