Friday, May 26, 2006

I&B Ministry plans Digital Delhi project

Friday - May 26, 2006 Correspondent
The Information & Broadcasting Ministry (I&B Ministry) has drawn a new plan to phase out all analogue transmissions and to turn India completely digital in the coming Five Year plan (2007-12). The deadline for the project, Digital Delhi, has been set as 2010 and thereby India will go completely digital by 2015. In this project, Prasar Bharati will take the lead by ensuring digital terrestrial broadcast for all Indian cities by 2013 and this will extend to both All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan (DD). The conversion of cable and satellite (C&S) homes from analogue to digital, the first step would involve providing conditional access to C&S homes and then converting them to digital technology by 2015.I&B Ministry also plans to take no chances with set top boxes, which will not be imported as per the present recommendations. Experts have drawn a detailed plan for indigenous production of digital set top boxes (STB's) to avoid controversies. Indigenous STB's should have digital analogue conversion capability for delivery of digital signal to the subscriber along with conditional access and address-ability features.The experts have also recommended that national standards for the manufacture of digital signal receivers must be established before indigenous production commences. In order to make digital conversion a complete success, testing, publication and adoption of technical standards for terrestrial digital transmission must be done by the government. This must also include adoption and publication of digital standards for cable television. The plan, which is to be implemented in a phased manner during the Eleventh Five Year plan, also recommends the creation of a body that will have a single regulator for both content and carriage.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

AIR to launch new FM channels

Monday - May 22, Correspondent
The All India Radio (AIR) will launch 25 FM Rainbow channels across the countrysoon, said Prasar Bharati CEO K S Sarma soon after the inauguration of the 102MHz FM channel at Visakhapatnam recently. After Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam is thesecond city to have an AIR FM channel in the state. A third channel will belaunched in Vijayawada in June this year. The channel in Vizag will have a reachof about 60 kilometres.Inaugurating the channel, Vizag MP Nedurumalli Janardhana Reddy said the AIR isthe most expressive embodiment of national integration. The MP said the AIRprogrammes were the backbone of the agricultural economy and suggested that moreinnovative entertainment and educational programmes be formulated to reach outto more people. Answering a query, he said that an FM station in Srikakulamwould be ready by 2007 March and Vijayawada station by June this year.

Prasar Bharati CEO K.S.Sarma retires in June Team(22 May 2006 12:30 pm)
NEW DELHI: Indian pubcaster Prasar Bharati would soon be headless unless thegovernment, too busy with other issues like reservation for backward classes ineducational institutions, hurries up.
On 30 June 2006, Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma retires after serving an overfive-year term that can be easily termed a roller-coaster ride.The present chairman of Prasar Bharati, veteran journalist MV Kamath, wasappointed during the tenure of previous government, headed by the right-wingBharatiya Janata Party. Meanwhile Sarma, a veteran of Prasar Bharati (he officiated as the DG ofDoordarshan when he was a joint secretary in the I&B ministry in the mid to late1990s) has seen over five ministers at the information and broadcastingministry, which controls the purse strings for the publicly funded PrasarBharati.Despite allegations of nepotism during a time when DD used to outsourcemarketing of big events, including the money-spinning cricket matches involvingIndia, a wily Sarma has come out unscathed.It was during Sarma's tenure as the CEO that DD floated its subscription-freeDTH service, which raced ahead of the country's first pay TV DTH service, DishTV, in terms of subscribers.For the financial year ended march 2006, for the first time Prasar Bharaticlocked a gross revenue of Rs 12.38 billion with Doordarshan clocking Rs 9.68billion and All India Radio 2.7 billion that signified a growth of 67.67 percent.

Some of the achievements during Sarma's tenure included the following:
1. Increased focus on pro-active in house marketing of properties.
2. Successful execution of media campaigns on behalf of government departments.
3. Rationalization of rate cards to suit the changing market conditions.
4. A strategic shift from Sponsored Programmes to Self Financing Scheme.
5. Introduction of blockbuster Hindi Feature Films on DD National and marketingthem in-house.
6. Leveraging AIR's vast network and unprecedented reach.
7. Narrowcasting programming strategy.
8. Publicity support for programmes to create awareness, especially among C & Saudience.
9. Improved billing and housekeeping efforts.


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Prasar Bharti's 24-hour Malayalam radio channel to begin this month

7 May 2006 TRIVANDRUM -
Prasar Bharti, the federal government-owned broadcasting corporation, will start a new 24-hour Malayalam radio channel in Kerala from May end, its Chief Executive Officer K.S. Sharma said here yesterday. Inaugurating the Trivandrum branch office of Prasar Bharti's marketing division, the eighth in the country, he said the new channel would offer music, drama and features besides the usual programmes. Prasar Bharti would make special effort to translate good content from Malayalam classics to other languages and broadcast it through its national channel, to show the nation what Kerala culture is.He said with Prasar Bharti opening marketing divisions in various cities, it was providing single window service to customers to book advertisements on AIR and Doordarshan channels from anywhere in India. Sharma said that the new Malayalam radio channel was among eight radio and 18 television channels being launched by the Prasar Bharati. These channels would broadcast programmes through Direct-To-Home (DTH) service.The senior officer said that the Prasar Bharati, launched in the early nineties with the government funding, is now able to stand on its own feet.The corporation has pushed Star and Zee TVs behind in revenues by earning Rs12.5 billion through advertisements alone.