Kochi, May 5 (UNI) In a major expansion of Prasar Bharati's Direct To Home (DTH) service 'DD Direct Plus,' the number of television channels will be increased to 51 and radio channels to 20 by the end of this month, Prasar Bharati CEO K S Sarma said today.
Inaugurating the Kochi branch office of the Prasar Bharati's marketing division, Mr Sarma said the service was presently offering 33 TV and 12 radio channels.
In a special word of cheer for Keralites, Mr Sarma announced that among the 20 radio channels would be a 24-hour Malayalam language channel, which would be available all over the country.
Referring to the opening of marketing divisions by Prasar Bharati in different cities, Mr Sarma said these would provide a single window service to customers to book advertisements on AIR and Doordarshan channels from anywhere in the country.
Stating that there were limitations on government funding of public broadcasters, he said it was the Prasar Bharati's endeavour to become self-sufficient, autonomous and independent by generating its own resources.
In a major step in this direction, the public service broadcaster had netted a record turnover of Rs 1,238 crore last year, crossing the Rs 1,000 crore mark for the first time. This marked an increase of 48.89 per cent over the previous year's turnover of Rs 831.47 crore.
All India Radio, especially, had achieved a spectacular growth of 67.67 per cent, with its revenues increasing from Rs 161.03 crore to Rs 270 crore.
Prasar Bharati had also earned more advertisement revenue than any other television channel group, bagging Rs 1,250 crore of the total Rs 4,500 crore ad-spend last year, he added.
Stating that Prasar Bharati was trying to become commercially viable without losing its public broadcaster identity, Mr Sarma said that DD and AIR continued to be the by-word for credibility even today.
''After watching all the other private news channels, the viewers still turn to DD to know what is the truth. We do not sensationalise or trivialise events. Doordarshan is the most balanced channel,'' he added.
Stressing on the public broadcasting role of Prasar Bharati, Mr Sarma said the Power Transmission Corporation in Karnataka had recently launched an 'interactive voice response system,' in collaboration with Prasar Bharati, to register people's complaints about the power supply.
He urged the administration in Kerala to utilise the enormous reach and potential of DD and AIR to reach out to the people with its developmental schemes.
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