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General News Doordarshan plans to launch kids channel in FY18: Supriya Sahu
MUMBAI: After almost a decade of back and forth, Doordarshan’s kids channel finally will become a reality. The pubcaster is preparing the ground work to launch its free-to-air (FTA) kids channel in FY18.

“We have not decided on the launch date for the channel because there is a lot of groundwork that needs to be done. We are aiming to launch the DD kids channel in FY18,” DD director general Supriya Sahu told on the sidelines of a panel discussion at the FICCI Frames 2017.

DD is looking to work with content producers on a revenue share basis. It is looking at 1000 hours of content. It will have a lean and efficient team.

“We are looking at multiple models like commissioning a few programmes, airing programmes on time-sharing basis or on revenue-sharing basis. The content should be contemporary and very deeply rooted in our ethos,” Sahu said.

It is also creating a content think tank comprising stakeholders from the industry. The think tank will help the pubcaster to chart its course on the content front.

Besides sourcing content from private players, DD is also developing its own concepts. “We have thought of innovative concepts like DD Kids Conclave. We will also have content around wildlife, Swachch Bharat, environment and climate change. These are very new concepts,” Sahu informed.

She also averred that the launch of a DD kids channel will be a great opportunity for Indian IPR. DD will also tie up with the National Centre for Excellence for Animation, Visual effects, Gaming and Comics, which is being set up by the MIB in Mumbai.

Sahu said that a DD kids channel is an idea whose time has come. Globally, most public broadcasters have a kids channel. “We have done our background work where we have prepared the concept note, which is under discussion with Prasar Bharati and the MIB (Ministry of Information and Broadcasting). The Prasar Bharati board has been sounded about this and they are very supportive of the idea,” she added.

While the channel is still at a conceptual stage, Sahu said that the pubcaster will leave no stone unturned to procure the best content. What has also given DD the confidence to launch the channel is the emergence of its own free direct-to-home (DTH) platform Freedish, which is growing at a breakneck speed even giving its pay competitors a run for their money.

“It will be an FTA channel and it will be available on Freedish and all other private networks as it will be a must-carry channel. The need for this channel is being felt even the MIB is feeling it strongly. All stakeholders feel this is the right time to launch the channel,” Sahu stated.

While DD has a strong platform, it is looking to marry that with equally strong and quality content. “We have our own facility, we have our own platform. We are sorted as far as platform is concerned. What we need is good content,” she asserted.

Sahu highlighted that kids is the third most viewed genre after general entertainment and movie channels, which makes it extremely critical for DD to be in this segment.

“There is demand from Freedish consumers for a kids channel,” she said.

Meanwhile, DD has digitised 19 of its 1,460 analogue terrestrial transmitters. This will allow the pubcaster to provide 10 channels to consumers in 19 cities for free on their smartphone. The channels can be accessed even without any internet connectivity.

“DD can decide on making its own channels available or the private ones,” Sahu noted.

Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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