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DD plans to e-auction National’s prime-time slots by December

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New Delhi: Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati is all set to conduct e-auctions for programming content slots on its flagship ‘DD National’ channel inviting country’s leading production houses. It has already announced auctioning of TV slots on its DTH platform DD Direct Plus from which it hopes to earn around R400 crore in revenue within this financial year.

E-auctioning of prime-time content slots on DD National comes with a twin aim of revival of its content while maximising revenues. Doordarshan hopes to earn over R100 crore in additional revenue from this venture with the minimum reserve price per slot likely to be fixed between R15 lakh and R20 lakh. The successful bidders would get free-commercial-time (FCT) within the 30-minute slots to recover their investments by directly selling the spots to advertisers.

Slated to be held between September-December, the e-auctions of content slots would be a first on any public broadcasting platform across the world, sources in Prasar Bharati said. “Doordarshan will e-auction the five 30-minute prime time slots on each of the week days (between 8:30 pm and 11 pm) and equal amount of slots on weekend to private content producers,” a senior Prasar Bharati official told FE.

The move is also aimed at bringing back the leading Mumbai-based TV production firms like Yash and BR Chopra creators of Mahabharata, Sagars (Ramayan), Surbhi (Siddharth Kak productions), Balaji Telefilms, Miditech, among others who left the Doordarshan-platform several years ago due to financial problems with the public broadcaster.

Explaining the reasons for going for the auctioning of content slots on DD National, a top Prasar Bharati official said , “We have realised that the quality of content on DD during prime-time is lower when compared with several private entertainment channels. And that is because of lower investments made by the productions companies as they get lower fees from us. The big companies are not working for us and it is a vicious cycle. Auctioning slots will give private content creators opportunity to not only improve the quality of programming but to earn from advertisers because of tha massive reach of Doordarshan in the country.” According to the official, the move will also usher in transparency in the functioning of Doordarshan.

As part of the guidelines for the proposed auctions, Prasar Bharati will ask the content creators to submit a pilot episode of their content along with the security deposit. Also, the interested parties will also have to dub their content in major regional languages as their content would also be aired on Doordarshan’s regional networks. Doordarshan operates a network of 21 channels and is mandatory by law for all licenced cable distributors to carry Doordarshan channels.

Source: The Financial Express

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