Doordarshan set to come out of its 'boring' image

Doordarshan set to come out of its 'boring' image

Doordarshan is set to discard its dowdy and boring image as a public service broadcaster, make its regional channels more attractive and entertaining, expand its reach to remote areas of the country and employ more local talent, all aided by a new study on viewership patterns.

The study, being conducted in a few cities by private group TAM Media Research, will be used by Doordarshan and even private channels to take a re-look at their plans, said Information and Broadcasting Secretary Bimal Julka.

“TAM is increasing the size of its Peoplemeter.  The data will be useful for us to know which channels are being viewed. This will help Doordarshan and other channels to re-study their plans,” Julka said.

A Peoplemeter is an audience measurement tool that calculates the viewing habits of TV and cable audience. He said the Peoplemeter study is an ‘independent exercise’ with no involvement of the government.

Elaborating about the Peoplemeter, the top ministry official said TAM installs ‘meters’ in people’s homes to gauge what channels are being viewed, at what time and by whom.

The study would give the government real-time data on channels preferred by people. Based on the study, the television rating points (TRPs) would be generated, he said.

“The meter will monitor which channel you are watching, how many times you surf that channel. They will measure each and every member of the household. It is a scientific method,” he added.

The TV remote would have buttons specifically configured for each member of a household. Each time a member of the family picks up the TV remote, he or she will have to click on the specific button; otherwise the TV set will not switch on.

The installation of Peoplemeter began about two months ago in some households in Chennai, Hyderabad and Madhya Pradesh, he said.

Julka said the government did not want to “come into the picture, lest anyone accuse us that we are biased”.

 TAM is a joint venture between AC Nielson Research Services and Kantar Market Research. Prasar Bharti, the public service broadcasting authority that runs Doordarshan and All India Radio, is studying the content of each programme to improve its quality, to make Doordarshan programmes more attractive, especially in border states.