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In a first, DD eyes R1.5k cr from pvt TV, DTH cos’ ads

New Delhi: Aiming to generate R1,500 crore in revenues for the first time in two decades so as to become financially independent, public broadcaster Prasar Bharati is opening up new revenue streams. The Prasar Bharati board has now decided to allow private media companies to advertise on Doordarshan’s network of 21 channels. The move is expected to generate around R60 crore additional revenue this fiscal, and is estimated to cross R100 crore by next year.

It has also endorsed auctioning of around 180 slots for TV channels on its DTH service — DD Direct Plus — which is expected to generate around R400 crore in additional revenue, up tenfold from the 2009-10 fiscal. FE was first to report this last month.

Prasar Bharati’s radio arm, All India Radio (AIR), is also being spruced up with plans to launch over 200 AIR FM stations to tap local advertisers.

“The ads of Star, Zee, Sony and the private DTH operators like Dish TV, Tata Sky, Airtel Digital TV and Sun Direct, among others, will now be seen on Doordarshan’s network. A decision to this effect was taken recently,” said a senior Doordarshan official.

The broadcaster had till now barred the airing of any commercial of private media firms including DTH operators. A Zee group firm had taken Prasar Bharati to court last year over this, but did not get any relief. “Allowing us to use the widest reach of Doordarshan’s network is a welcome move. Each year, the six private DTH operators alone spend Rs 200 crore on advertising, marketing and promotions. Now a large chunk of it will go to Prasar Bharati,” a senior executive of the DTH operators association told FE. Doordarshan is estimated to reach around 450 million people, the largest audience in the country. However, it requires around Rs 1,200 crore to run the its network, against an average of Rs 800-850 crore it generates annually. AIR contributes another Rs 250 crore. “The revamped Prasar Bharati board has taken a number of steps to streamline the systems and processes like allowing ads from private media companies or auctioning of slots on DD Direct Plus which will not only bring in the much-needed revenues but also transparency,” a senior Prasar Bharati official said. Since 2005, Prasar Bharati’s combined revenues have crossed the Rs 1,000-crore mark only twice, while its operational costs have been rising steadily. In 2005-06 and 2008-09, the operational cost of Doordarshan jumped over Rs 1,000 on account of grant of dearness pay and the impact of implementing the the recommendations of Sixth Pay Commission on salary, respectively. However, during 2006-07 and 2007-08, operational costs were reined in to Rs 913 crore and Rs 830 crore, respectively. Sources said that the 2010-11 fiscal would be challenging for Prasar Bharati with its operational cost rising sharply on account of the Commonwealth Games. :The financials for FY11 are still being computed but the costs are higher and the revenues have not met the expectations,” a Doordarshan insider said.

Source: The Financial Express

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