DD, All India Radio plan digital drive to woo young audiences

Prasar Bharati will have a completely new look in the next five years that will be able to connect with the youth, says its CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati.

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DD news had reportedly said the BJP gets maximum time on its news slot, followed by the Congress since the Lok Sabha polls were announced.

Prasar Bharati will leverage latest digital technologies and improved social media practices to appeal to the country’s youth as it looks to catch up with private television and FM radio networks.

The public broadcaster will also upgrade its studios and networks, apart from creating appealing content for India’s young population, said its chief executive Shashi Shekhar Vempati.

“The vision going forward is: more digital, more IT savvy, and preparing for a big transition because a lot part of our workforce will retire in the next few years,” he said in an exclusive interaction with Financial Express Online.

“We have to prepare a completely new look Prasar Bharati… able to connect with the youth,” he added.

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Prasar Bharati recently received Rs 1,054 crore funding from the central government for upgrading the infrastructure and network of Doordarshan and All India Radio, a significant portion of which will go into the creation of appealing content.

Vempati said as a national broadcaster Prasar Bharati has a mandate to serve under served areas and those groups and languages which are not served by mainstream media.

“Even now the FM radio station that is available in many small towns is All India Radio. There is no private sector,” said the Prasar Bharati CEO, adding that expanding the FM footprint is a big focus area for him by leveraging the latest technology as most of the radio listening has moved to the smart phones with many having an in-built FM chip that clearly makes them choice of listening for future.

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Prasar Bharati will also leverage its presence in digital media to appeal to the youth. National broadcaster has more than 150 active twitter handles and 60 YouTube channels.

“We have more than doubled our digital growth and our network of YouTube channels is delivering million plus views daily,” said Vempati, highlighting the fact that the fresh round of funding is ultimately aimed at preparing for the future.

Despite the massive resources at the disposal of the national broadcaster, Doordarshan and All India Radio’s digital and social media properties lag behind in terms of impact and popularity.

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While NDTV’s twitter handle has 11.2 million followers, Times Now has 8.75 million and Aaj Tak has 7.75 million followers on its Twitter handle as against 2.43 million followers on the Twitter handle of DD News.

Similarly, Aajtak’s YouTube Channel has 14 million subscribers, ABP News 10 million, NDTV 3.5 million. Another public broadcaster Rajya Sabha TV, which started its operations in 2011 has almost twice as many subscribers for its YouTube channel as the YouTube channel of DD News.

“Now that we have content funding coming in…so you have the opportunity in the market and you have the opportunity in terms of funding and the challenge before the team is to quickly capture the opportunity,” said Vempati while discussing the future plans for the public broadcaster that once commanded the nationwide admiration not because of the monopoly it had but because of the quality of its programme.

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First published on: 21-02-2019 at 22:18 IST