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Govt to rope in private consultancy firm to ‘revitalise’ loss-making Doordarshan

The government has planned to rope in a private consultancy firm to ‘revitalise’ lackluster public broadcaster Doordarshan (DD) and bring it at par with other private channels in terms of viewership and revenues. Tenders have been recently invited and three agencies have been shortlisted so far, of which one would be selected for the purpose.

The agency will work on “Transformation of DD as a leading Public Service Broadcaster”, to ‘revitalise’ Doordarshan and even out its consistent losses. Doordarshan has incurred additional losses to the tune of Rs 309 crore this financial year as compared to the last year. “The consulting firm will analyse the current difficulties in DD and prepare a solution map for addressing them, by identifying areas for ‘quick wins’ for bringing up its revenues in the short term and also help the broadcaster to plan their implementation. It will also help DD to develop a long term, 3-5 years strategic roadmap and implementation plan.

A senior official from DD’s parent body Prasar Bharati said that DD’s declining viewership and increasing losses had become a cause of concern.

Various measures taken to improve DD, including the slot-sale policy to jack up DD’s falling revenues, met with a poor response. Even the Broadcasting Audience Research Council (BARC), covering only urban viewership, has stated that DD has only 1% of the total TV viewership. “In the last couple of decades, DD has significantly lost its viewership to private broadcasters and cable TV. DD has ceased to be preferred channel, especially for the younger and urban populations, who can access private TV channels as well as the internet,” an official said.

As per the tender documents, the private agency appointed will first look into improved revenue models, content portfolio mix for DD National, DD Bharti, DD Urdu, DD India, DD Kashir, DD Sports, content procurement strategies and production, Movies procurement strategies, among other aspects, and recommend policy-level changes for their implementation. It also bring on-board Indian and International Media sector experts for their view on the other “potential” quick wins.

In the second phase, the agency will identify channel vision (for national channels like DD national, DD Bharti, DD Urdu, DD India, DD Kashir, DD Sports), study reason for decline of viewership of DD and correlate with authentic data from BARC and analyse viewership loss on the basis of viewership segments (urban/ rural/ gender-wise/ age-group) and suggest ways to get them back.

The agency will also have to study key Indian broadcasters – their strategy, operating model and performance, its brand and positioning, international public service broadcasters – their strategy, operating model and performance and overall media sector trends/ developments and implications, among others.


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