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DD nets Rs 25 lakh from Afro-Asian games

Our Bureau

Hyderabad , Nov. 2

DOORDARSHAN has registered a net income of Rs 25 lakh from the Afro-Asian Games (AAG) which concluded here on Saturday. DD's advertisement revenues from the games stood at Rs 1.75 crore as against a cash outflow of Rs 1.5 crore, according to the Prasar Bharati Chief Executive Officer, Mr K.S. Sharma.

Mr Sharma said that the actual cost of the coverage of AAG would have been Rs 32 crore if the DD had not deployed its own equipment. Since the DD had all the required equipment, the cash outflow was only Rs 1.5 crore. "Entire planning and its implementation for the coverage was carried out in-house and the complete show was managed by Doordarshan."

He said that the DD could secure more advertisements for the AAG as it had clubbed it with the on-going triangular cricket series in the country. For the 32nd National Games held here last year, DD managed to get only Rs 30 lakh as advertisement revenue and thus incurred a net loss.

Mr Sharma said DD had taken the coverage of AAG as a challenge to show its capability as a host broadcaster for an international mega sports event. DD wanted to use AAG as a stepping-stone for the coverage of Commonwealth and Olympic games in future. Accordingly, Prasar Bharati had taken the rights for coverage of the next year Olympics in Athens and was now planning to bid for the coverage of Commonwealth games.

DD had deployed 350 personnel, 10 outside broadcasting vans, nine up-linking vans and 86 cameras for covering the games. In addition, five cameras have been deployed for Sports News and sidelights. The All India Radio had also engaged 150 programme and engineering people for the coverage of AAG. "Commentators we have taken are the best in the country. We have not spared any expenditure in this regard," Mr Sharma said.

The Prasar Bharati CEO said that the flagship programme of the DD's 24-hour news channel beginning Monday would be the 9.30 - 10.30 p.m. "Cross Country" bulletin to be produced by Mr Deepak Chaurasia. The Union Government had given Rs 20 crore to run the channel for five months. The Government had also agreed to give Rs 54 crore per annum for the channel for two years and thereafter, the news channel had to be self-sustained. Prasar Bharati would also be starting a 24-hour radio news channel from April 2, 2004.

To provide content for the 24-hour news channels, he said, more reporters would be employed and a large number of stringers hired. The infrastructure support for the newspersons would also be improved. Besides, DD was negotiating with Associate Press Television (APTN) for providing inputs.

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