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Gearing up for the Games

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DQI Bureau
New Update

When it comes to internal IT, Doordarshan has little to worry about. All the

internal IT functions including data centers, emails, maintenance, etc, is done

by the National Informatics Center, and that makes things less complicated for

the mammoth organization.

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However, if internal IT isnt a worry, then dipping picture quality,

dwindling TRPs, and a near wipe-out situation in urban areas is definitely a

concern. Prasar Bharti has turned towards IT to lend a helping hand and save the

day for DD.

The modernization project that DD has embarked upon in its current eleventh

plan is a huge drive, both in terms of money and expertise.

Plan 11



Of its sixty-six studios, all but four shall be digitized in the current

plan. And these four studios have been left out precisely because they are

relatively new, and dont need immediate upgrades.

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DD lacks neither the funds, nor the

infrastructure
RR Prasad, engineer-in-chief, DD

However, going on this modernization path was laced with a lot of challenges

for DD. For one, the reach of DD is huge, and a lot of it is in areas where

finding technical expertise is a near impossible thing. Thus, DD is leveraging

its chief zonal officers to supervise the digitization.

"The other challenge that our legacy TV channel is facing is the time

crunch," says RR Prasad, engineer-in-chief, DD. Since DD is the host broadcaster

for the Commonwealth Games to be held in October this year, the move towards HD

TV has to be nearly complete by then to ensure high and seamless broadcasting.

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Therefore, an international broadcasting center has to be set up in Pragati

Maidan in Delhi, dedicated specifically to the Commonwealth Games. Also, its

setting up terrestrial HD transmitters in the four metros.

Regaining Lost Miles



According to Prasad, the reasons for DD gradually losing its viewership and

thus its charm, are manythe emergence of better quality channels, DTH and cable

operators, to name a few. The introduction of its own DTH was one tactic that DD

deployed to get back some eye balls.

"We got a lot of viewers because of DTH service. Being the first in the

market we had our advantages. And our USP was that it was totally free of cost,"

explains Prasad.

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DD now has plans to revamp its DTH offerings as well by offering ninety-seven

channels in the first phase, and then scaling up to 200 channels gradually.

Prasad also believes that digitization will help DD come back to the

forefront. And that is because no other organization boasts of a reach as wide

as DD. He agrees that this digitization and adequate use of technology has come

a little late, but he thinks that is because: "We cant be equated with other

satellite channels. We are an organization and not a channel operator."

And well, one thing is clear, that DD lacks neither the funds, nor the

infrastructure. All it needs is a bit of intelligent technology deployment, and

finally, that seems to be on the horizon as well. Whats more, DD is also

planning to use some data analysis software for analyzing viewership patterns,

something that is being done manually till date!

Mehak Chawla



mehakc@cybermedia.co.in

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