Prasar Bharati looks to rake in Rs100 crore from DD’s prime time slot auction

Prasar Bharati will receive around Rs20 crore as the collective bidding price of the slots sold in the auction and over Rs80 crore in ad revenue from new programming


The decision to auction programming slots is a part of broadcaster’s efforts to revamp the entire Doordarshan network.
The decision to auction programming slots is a part of broadcaster’s efforts to revamp the entire Doordarshan network.

New Delhi: Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati is expecting to clock over Rs100 crore from Doordarshan’s prime time programming slot auction that concluded in December 2016. Prasar Bharati runs Doordarshan and All India Radio.

The broadcaster will receive close to Rs20 crore as the collective bidding price of the slots sold in the auction and is hoping to earn over Rs80 crore in advertising revenue (from new programming) in 2017-18.

Doordarshan had put up its prime time slots (7pm-11pm) on auction in May 2016, inviting private production houses to bid. Ekta Kapoor-promoted Balaji Telefilms, and Saaibaba Telefilms had emerged as successful bidders in the auction.

“We will earn Rs19.95 crore which is the bidding price of the slots sold in the auction. This is likely to be received in April. Apart from that, we will be earning over Rs 80 crore in advertising revenue. We will also save a lot of money because of the auction,” said a Doordarshan official who did not wish to be identified.

Up until now, the broadcaster used to buy the programmes from production houses and then recover the money spent through advertising revenue. Under the new policy, the private production houses will have to pay upfront for the slots bought in the auction.

“We have been paying close to over Rs 40 crore annually to private production houses under the previous scheme, which is no longer the case. From April, the new scheme will probably come into force,” the official added. Additionally, the free commercial time per episode will also be shared by private production houses and Doordarshan. Doordarshan charges Rs 60,000 per 10 seconds of advertisements.

Meanwhile, Balaji Telefilms and Saaibaba Telefilms are readying programming ranging from youth-oriented shows to family dramas and music reality shows which Prasar Bharati expects to roll out by mid-April.

The decision to auction programming slots is a part of broadcaster’s efforts to revamp the entire Doordarshan network. “There is a need to change the perception of the network in the market to compete with private entertainment channels. Doordarshan is under a complete revamp mode now,” the official said.

Recently, Doordarshan had decided to re-introduce its iconic and successful television shows from the 1980s like Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Circus, and Malgudi Days in a bid to attract eyeballs. The network is also planning to introduce new channels in kids, youth and music genres. “In our bouquet, we don’t have anything dedicated to any of these. We have presented these plans to Prasar Bharati board and the board has been very supportive so far,” Supriya Sahu, director general at Doordarshan had said earlier.

Also read: There is a content crisis on many of Doordarshan’s channels: Supriya Sahu

In 2015-16, Doordarshan recorded net revenue of Rs755.79 crore, down from Rs 911 crore in 2014-15. The broadcaster registered an operational loss of about Rs400 crore in 2015-16.

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