Doordarshan invites bids for channel content in India

57-year old Indian channel changing with time

Freestyle

News - India & You

November 3, 2016

/ By / Kolkata



Logo of the national broadcaster Doordarshan.

Logo of the national broadcaster Doordarshan.

Doordarshan is seeking bids for production of content for its channels as it puts up a fight to stay relevant.

Doordrshan, the public broadcaster of India, started in 1959 with a grant of roughly EUR 18,072 from UNESCO. It revealed earlier this week that it is opening up bidding to producers with an aim of roping them in to develop shows and serials for the channels for the public broadcaster. In a statement, the channel announced its newest plans to revamp the content on air and said that it has been exploring new ways of procuring quality content for its channels. “Towards this, a New Content Acquisition Scheme through bidding process for DD Channels has been approved by Prasar Bharati Board. DD has floated a RFP document with several flexible eligibility conditions to invite fresh and good quality content on its DD National as a pilot,” it said. With over 60 channels and an outreach to 146 countries, Doordarshan has a substantial coverage and viewership.

Doordarshan, besides mentioning other criteria, specified that applicants for weekend slots in the genres of reality, game and quiz should have produced hundred hours of such content in the last three years. Successful bidders are expected to produce new programmes in various genres for entertainment for Doordarshan, while sticking to the codes of Prasar Bharati, the public broadcasting agency under whom Doordarshan functions. The last date for submission of qualification and financial bids is November 22. This move comes at a time when Doordarshan is losing out both on revenue and viewership. The DD National channel started nationwide transmission in 1982 and was the host to India’s first soap TV show, titled ‘Hum Log‘, reportedly taking inspiration from a Mexican TV serial from the late 1960s, named ‘Simplemente Maria’. Today, however, DD National doesn’t find a popular standing among viewers, as Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India points out in its standing. At 82.66 million impressions across rural and urban markets in the week ended on October 14, it stands relatively weak in comparison to the Star Plus channel which had a viewership of 706.324 million impressions, and is the most watched channel.

Strong cultural link

The 1980s were considered the golden days for the broadcaster, with Asian Games being watched closely by anyone who had access to a television. Most of the content produced by Doordarshan has always found a cultural link specific to India. With shows like ‘Buniyaad‘ or mythology-based ‘Mahabharat‘, or also the mystery-thriller tales of ‘Byomkesh Bakshi‘, the channel created a cult following. DD National also brought to the country the first Indian superhero, Shaktimaan. An English current affairs bulletin named ‘Perspective’ had also found its way into the programmes. Now, hoping to make changes, in 2014 the broadcaster underwent an image makeover, with a new logo and tagline to go along. Countries like Germany have state-supported public broadcasters running channels suited to needs of different regional tastes, and Iceland has a comprehensive network producing arts, media and current affairs programmes. Perhaps the time for Doordarshan has come to evolve in accordance with how to regain its lost glory and importance it once held.

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