DD Bharati goes on air on Jan 26

Updated: Jan 25 2002, 05:30am hrs
Ordinarily, the claims of a new channel like no other should generate some excitement. However, when good old Doordarshan (DD) broadcasts such claims, one should forgive its audience for eyeing them with wariness, if not weariness, given the performance track record of its existing channels.

That DDs new 24-hour edutainment satellite channel DD Bharati will be like no other is a given. The channel brings together three broad programming bands on health and fitness, a kiddies slot and a culture and heritage slot. The unique selling proposition of the channel is that all these programmes will be India-centric. It will be the showcase of India in your living room, says the spokesperson.

The kick-off event of the channel, fittingly scheduled on January 26, 2002, will be a live broadcast of the 3-hour inaugural function which will feature artistes like flute maestro Hari Prasad Chaurasia, violinist L Subramanium, singers Kavita Krishnamurthi, Begum Parveen Sultana and the Colonial Cousins.

Thereafter will begin the broadcast of programmes of which at least 40 per cent have been produced in-house. External contributors include TMG, the technology channel, the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, National Films Development Corporation, Indira Gandhi National Open University and Transtel of Germany. Discovery Channel will also provide software on travel, tourism and kids.

The channel is in dialogue with Pentamedia Graphics to source animated versions of Indian classics and folktales for the kiddies slot. Pharmaceutical companies like Morepen Laboratories and even some reputed hospitals are keen to air health-related shows on the channel.

Will this smorgasboard of programmes be able to generate and sustain viewer interest Well, confidence levels arent exactly high if one considers that, instead of relying on audience demand to push the channel into a larger number of homes, plans are to make it mandatory for cable operators in the northern belt to beam the free-to-air channel.

The birth of DD Bharati will also mean curtains for DD News, the 24-hour news channel that failed to meet its ambitious programming and commercial objectives.