Doordarshan is finally entering the digital age – The Cabinet Committee on infrastructure has approved the digitalization program of Rs 1540 crore for Doordarshan (DD) and All India Radio (AIR) in the Eleventh Plan in order to enable these state-owned broadcasters to compete effectively with dynamic private operators.
And there is good reason for this move – The Commonwealth Games – which are going to be covered globally through Doordarshan. It would have been really sad, if DD beamed sub-standard quality of pictures of this mega sporting event.
The Commonwealth Games was expected to be covered in high definition format with higher resolution video by DD for the first time. However, it remains to be seen as to how fast the digitization drive can be completed before the upcoming sporting event.
The government has also set up two studios to facilitate High Definition TV (HDTV) which would provide 3-4 times higher resolutions than the lower-yielding current one.
The broadcasting from Doordarshan and Akashvani (or AIR) are the only medium which are highly penetrated even in the remotest corners of the country, to both rich and poor.
In the Eleventh Plan, Rs.620 crore and Rs.920 crore has been earmarked for digitalization of DD and AIR respectively. The number of channels for DD is also likely to go up from presently eight to ten with high definition clarity and content.
The urban cities have witnessed a sharp fall in the consumption of Akashvani, what with the advent of numerous FM channels introduced by private broadcasters. This has prompted the government to push through the digitization of AIR to effectively combat the increasing competition from private channels.
The scheme under the eleventh plan involves installation of 40 numbers of Digital Terrestrial Transmitters (DTT), networking of DTT through satellites, digitalization of existing studios, replacement and augmentation of old studious, digitization of archiving facilities, news room automation system, e-governance and IT scheme.
Do you feel DD and AIR provide any sort of competition to private broadcasters in today’s highly dynamic and competitive media industry?