Vijay Jindal, founder-promoter of production company Karma Networks (the company produces films and has a venture titled Haasil starring Jimmy Shergill, Hrishita Bhatt and Asutosh Rana in the pipeline) has taken up a new role. He is now chairman of the newly-formed Marketing Advisory Committee at Doordarshan, which among other issues has plans to aggressively market its programmes and correct the perception of the public broadcaster as an archaic Government set up. Explains Jindal, "DD, quite frankly, has unparalleled reach and tremendous potential. It is the sole media vehicle in the countryside as opposed to private television channels that reach only one-third of the total television homes."
Comprising seven members, the Advisory Committee, according to Jindal, will be "the marketing think tank" advising the Prasar Bharti board (of which DD is a unit) on "maximising revenue, brand building and profiling". "DD has huge unsold airtime in slots during the day and night. If we can introduce bouquet pricing where different slots are bundled together and offered at one rate, I think this would definitely be an attractive proposition to advertisers."
Elaborates SY Qureshi, director-general, Doordarshan, "We have 24 channels, of which four are national, one is international and the rest are regional. Even if two-thirds of our revenue comes from the national budget, we still have to raise the remaining one-third. Forming an Advisory Committee is part of this exercise of getting aggressive. I think, it is high time we fight for our share of the advertising pie as well as viewership in a scenario where 110 channels are fighting for the same."
Qureshi claims that besides being advised on marketing strategies, the Prasar Bharti board is looking for ideas on "content improvement, positioning and cross-channel promos in particular". "We never ever thought of using our own channels as a means to promote another. But now we are seriously looking into the area of brand building and promotions." In this regard, Doordarshan has entered into barter agreements with leading newspapers where DD will provide publications with free airtime in return for free space in newspapers to promote its programmes.
Besides this, DD has plans to exploit the outdoor media and hopes to reach out to the transit population through messages on billboards and hoardings. "Greater audience means greater revenue. I think we need to catch the viewers first, if we need to increase our revenues," says Qureshi. Working against a target of Rs 700 crore set by the Planning Commission, Qureshi hopes to exceed the figure by the end of this year. The broadcaster closed last year with approximately Rs 620 crore of advertising revenue.
On his part, Jindal has his task cut out. "DD has been a sales-oriented organisation for much of its existence. The appointment of an Advisory Committee, in my opinion, is a break from the past and indicates DD's desire to maximise its potential."
The broadcaster has set up marketing offices in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad and is looking to set up a three more in the metros of Delhi, Kolkata and Trivandrum in the near future. © 2002 agencyfaqs!