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Prasar Bharati in its 16 May board meeting had decided to auction the prime-time slots on DD National as an effort to revive the viewership of the channel and to compete with private Hindi general entertainment channels. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint
Prasar Bharati in its 16 May board meeting had decided to auction the prime-time slots on DD National as an effort to revive the viewership of the channel and to compete with private Hindi general entertainment channels.
Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint

Seven production houses to bid for Doordarshan’s prime-time slots

Balaji Telefilms, Optymistix, Contiloe, Cinevistaas, Keylight Productions, Shakuntalam Telefilms and Rash Productions in race

New Delhi: Large production houses such as Balaji Telefilms Ltd and Cinevistaas Ltd will soon be competing to run prime-time programming on the national channel of state-owned broadcaster Doordarshan.

For the upcoming auction of prime-time slots on DD National, as many as seven production houses have come forward as potential bidders.

“We have received seven applications from some of the leading production houses of the country who will now bid on 18 and 19 July," said a top official at Doordarshan on condition of anonymity. The application process closed on 4 July.

The production houses are Balaji Telefilms; Optymistix Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, which runs Comedy Nights Live (on Colors); Contiloe Entertainment Pvt. Ltd and Cinevistaas which have produced shows such as Savdhaan India-India Fights Back (on Life Ok) and Dill Mill Gayye (on Star One); Keylight Productions, Shakuntalam Telefilms and Rash Productions Pvt. Ltd. Prasar Bharati, which runs Doordarshan, has received three applications for programming from 8pm to 10pm (four half-hour slots) and four applications for the 7pm to 11 pm slot (eight half-hour slots). Prasar Bharati had put up the time slots between 7pm and 11pm for all weekdays on auction, while keeping the 7-8pm slot on Saturdays for its own content.

“At first, we had internal discussions to push the deadline for submitting applications further, considering the low number of applicants. But we have bidders for all the slots, and above all, these are the leading players in the industry," the official said, adding that Prasar Bharati will go ahead with the e-auction process without any delay.

The broadcaster will now be scrutinizing these applications to check if the production houses fit the eligibility criteria to participate in the auction.

In a set of conditions laid out by Prasar Bharati, a production house will only be eligible to bid if it has logged revenue of at least 5 crore per annum in each of the past three financial years and has produced at least 300 hours of Hindi general entertainment programming in the past two calendar years.

Sanjay Dwivedi, group chief financial officer at Balaji Telefilms, which already runs the popular fiction show Pavitra Bandhan on DD National, said that the production house is very keen and excited about what Doordarshan is planning to do.

“It’s one more opportunity for us and if it comes out well, it will be a good opportunity for the viewers and a good game for everyone," he said.

Prasar Bharati in its 16 May board meeting had decided to auction the prime-time slots on DD National as an effort to revive viewership and to compete with private Hindi general entertainment channels.

“We decided to introduce fresh programming to get eyeballs back. Prasar Bharati needs to improve viewership to get up there among the general entertainment channels and to compete with private channels," Prasar Bharati chairperson A. Surya Prakash had said. The broadcaster plans to roll out the new programming by October.

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