New Delhi: Politicians may be taking potshots at Suresh Kalmadi, the man organizing the October Commonwealth Games in New Delhi; mainstream media may be highlighting the city’s lack of preparedness for the event; and several high-profile sportspersons may have already indicated their unavailability for the Games, but India’s state-owned national broadcaster is excited about the event.
Excited enough, in fact, to get itself a mascot for the event, which it will telecast in high definition (HD), no less.
Prasar Bharati, the state-owned broadcaster that has the exclusive rights to telecast the event, has named the mascot DD, after its flagship channel Doordarshan. DD (the mascot) is to be used to promote the HD telecast of the event on DD (the channel); this will be the first time the Games will be broadcast in HD.
“The mascot has been created to generate audience interest for the Commonwealth Games,” said Aruna Sharma, director general of Doordarshan.
The mascot, which looks like a mechanical insectoid, integrates the national channel’s logo and abbreviated name.
To be launched in the first week of August, DD (the mascot) has been conceptualized by Ogilvy and Mather (India) Ltd (O&M) at a cost of roughly Rs2 crore. O&M had created the award-winning Zoozoos for telecom operator Vodafone Essar Ltd.
The mascot will be used on all the five Doordarshan channels that will showcase the Games from 3-14 October, DD National, DD Bharati, DD Urdu, DD Sports and DD India. A 10-second animation film has been created specially for the launch.
Prasar Bharati operates 31 channels in 22 languages, and covers 92% of the population and 81% land area of the country. For the year 2009-10, it clocked a revenue of Rs1,000 crore.
The broadcaster is also confident that it will earn around Rs100 crore by selling commercial time during the telecast of the Games.
According to Ashok Jailkhani, deputy director general of Doordarshan, Hero Honda Motors Ltd will be one of the sponsors of the live coverage of the event on DD Sports.
A Hero Honda spokesperson said the company will be sponsoring the actual Games and will get some benefit on air as well.
Prasar Bharati is hoping to use the mascot to generate excitement around its coverage and, by extension, the Games themselves. “The reference point, in one sense, was Zoozoo and the director general was clear that she wanted a character that could visually portray technology as well as the human aspect for a greater connect,” said Sudhir Sahani, president (advertising) at O&M in Delhi.
O&M will also create DD merchandise such as mugs, T-shirts and key rings for distribution to participants and officials, and for sale to the public. Sharma admitted that merchandise is on the cards, but declined to provide more details.
O&M and Tata Elxsi Ltd, a design company, are also creating 17 different 30- and 10-second films; there are 17 sporting events scheduled for the Games.
Meanwhile, Prasar Bharati is looking to sign on well-known anchors and talk show hosts. Model Milind Soman, and former MTV video jockey and anchor Mini Mathur have already started anchoring separate Games-related shows on DD National. “We want anchors who are not just vibrant, but also sports enthusiasts themselves,” said Jailkhani.
DD Sports is also covering the Queen’s baton relay live.