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DD makeover with viewer inputs

New Delhi, Jan. 5: Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati has started the process of setting up viewer assessment committees for Doordarshan’s regional channels to make their look, feel and content more contemporary.

Viewers are now drawn more to satellite infotainment channels than government-regulated Doordarshan channels.

Officials at Prasar Bharti, which runs Doordarshan and All India Radio, said assessment committees were being constituted for Doordarshan’s 11 regional language satellite channels in Bangla, Gujarati, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Odiya, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Punjabi, Kannada and Northeast languages.

“These committees will have about 10-12 members each from a cross-section of society and will act as interface between management and viewers. The idea is to take our offerings closer to the audience and concentrate on increasing our channels’ popularity,” said a senior official.

The committees will include renowned regional actors, theatre personalities and artists as well as students and homemakers. Three of the 11 committees are expected to come into existence within the next few weeks.

“Only a viewer can best tell what he/she likes to watch on television. That’s why we will need their feedback, suggestion, etc., to better our present content. While the primary aim is to increase our viewership, revenue will go northwards naturally as advertisers get lured to programmes with large audience base,” the official added.

Currently, regional language satellite channels have two components — the regional service for the particular state relayed by all terrestrial transmitters in the state and additional programmes in the regional language in prime time and non-prime time slots available only through cable operators. The shows offered by these channels have, however, often been criticised for being of low standard in terms of content and production quality.

Prasar Bharati has also started hiring well-known TV journalists, attached with private news channels, to revive its moribund DD News channel that has always been associated with rock-bottom ratings.

Efforts are also on to build a marketing team to sell slots in DD News’ prime-time band to earn revenues from private sponsors.

“Some consultants have already joined while others are expected to join. These attempts are a bid to make our channels lively, popular and more professional, and all the required support, technological equipment and liberty to work efficiently will be given to the hired professionals to deliver the results,” the official added.