Prasar Bharati to address tech, manpower challenges
New Delhi: One of the foremost tasks that Shashi Shekhar Vempati, the newly appointed chief executive officer of Prasar Bharati, has set himself is to revamp the official websites of the public broadcaster, focus on monetising content digitally, and change the IT systems across the organization.
Prasar Bharati runs Doordarshan and All India Radio.
Vempati, 43, who has previously worked with Infosys for almost 16 years, offers a reason behind the move—“We hardly did anything on paper in Infosys and here, I have probably signed my name a thousand times since joining,” he said.
Vempati took charge as CEO of Prasar Bharati on 12 June, replacing Rajeev Singh, who was serving as interim CEO since February 2017. He (Vempati) is the first non-Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer ever to spearhead the public broadcaster and has already developed a roadmap for the organization for the next one year.
First and foremost, Vempati plans to address technology and manpower issues in the organization. “Making the organization tech-enabled and solving the manpower issues are my priorities for 2017. That is the roadmap,” Vempati said.
“We have cadres that have not seen promotion in ages, there has not been a fresh intake of talent in a long time, and we have an ageing workforce. We need young blood. There is a knowledge management and experience challenge that needs to be addressed,” he said.
Additionally, the broadcaster is working on a manpower audit and is in the process of hiring a private agency for the same. The move is in line with the recommendations submitted by Sam Pitroda committee in 2014.
Also on the cards is a global digital platform (like BBC and AL Jazeera), which Vempati is planning to launch by the end of this year. The broadcaster is also looking to monetize on Doordarshan’s old iconic shows from the 1980s, through this platform. “Our archives model is very restrictive. Our content is available on CDs and DVDs but worldwide, the trend is that archives are available on video-on-demand platforms. That is something we are looking at,” he said.
A former Prasar Bharati board member, who did not want to be named, however, said that the new CEO has a tough task ahead “making the white elephant efficient and worthy. It is very difficult to make this organization tech-enabled and work like a modern media organization. However, the new CEO has complete government support that the former CEO didn’t. So, we will have to wait and see how these plans pan out,” the executive said.
Currently, Doordarshan is also undergoing a complete revamp to improve the look and feel of its existing channels and is also planning to introduce new channels in kids, youth and music genres. Soon, the broadcaster will also introduce fresh prime-time content, prepared by private production houses on DD National.