February 24, the Centre said ten low-power transmission centres of Doordarshan across Odisha, among others, will be closed down in six weeks. Orissa POST talked to the denizens of Bhubaneswar and they aren’t happy about it…..
- The DD empire is not a small empire, it has 17 regional, and seven national channels, moreover, it has 66 Doordarshan Kendras across the country and over 50,000 hours of audio-visual content in archival library
- But nowadays, DD National no longer finds a place among the 10 most-watched Hindi general entertainment channels in the urban and rural viewership matrix
ARINDAM GANGULY, OP
BHUBANESWAR: With Doordarshan, once a ‘go-to’ channel for entertainment and information, failing to compete with private channels, the central government is going to close down 125 low-power transmission centres across the nation. In a directive issued February 24, the central government has said these centres would be closed down in six weeks time. There are 10 such centres in Odisha. The centres to be closed down in the state are—Bhanjanagar, Anandapur, Brajarajnagar, Dasarathpur, Dhenkanal, Joda, Karanjia, Khandapada, Mohana and Rairangpur.
But nowadays, DD National no longer finds a place among the 10 most-watched Hindi general entertainment channels in the urban and rural viewership matrix.
For many 90s’ kids, Doordarshan used to be the only channel they watched on their weekends; who can forget the cult Shaktiman. People of all age groups found something to their taste.
But, with the gradual entry of private companies in the broadcasting business beginning 1991, Doordarshan has faced stiff competition over the years. Of late, both its revenues and viewership have seen a steep decline. According to Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India, DD National registered 82.66 million impressions across rural and urban markets in the week ended 14 October (2019), compared to the most-viewed channel Star Plus which had a viewership of 706.324 million impressions.
It may be mentioned here that impressions (also known as television viewership in thousands) refer to the number of individuals in thousands of a target audience who viewed an event, averaged across minutes.
Speaking to Orissa POST, Jayanta Rout, a YouTuber, said, “I used to watch ‘Shaktiman’ in my childhood and that was my favourite show. Even till my graduation time, I used to watch Doordarshan as in my home this was the only channel with that old antenna. People stopped watching it because in a very affordable price, they got a lot of entertainment channels and Doordarshan also ran out of epics like—’Mahabharat’ ‘Shaktiman’, ‘Ramayana’, ‘Chitrahaar’ or ‘Antakshari’.”
Filmmaker Amartya Bhattacharya said, “Back in our childhood days, Doordarshan was always special. I think there’s too much of content these days. Surplus is always a problem for basics. Doordarshan was basic, and it still is. It has still remained traditional, but other channels have become peppy and cater to the mood of the modern generation. I loved ‘The Jungle Book’. I also loved watching films of Satyajit Ray like ‘Goopy Gayne Bagha Bayne’ and ‘Hirok Rajar Deshe’ amongst others.”
Sreeshti Mishra felt because of market liberalisation during the 90s, private cable channels sprung up, and slowly and slowly they took over the viewership of urban masses, then the semi urban areas, then DD was only left for agricultural shows, and developmental shows among others. “It was pretty rural centric, and so, it’s a history now.”
Reshma Panda said TV channels nowadays have become boring and monotonous for a 90s Doordarshan kid like me. “Though there are hundreds of channels, there is very little to differentiate among them, everyone serves the same repeated thing.”
Pravas Acharya, who has been associated with Doordarshan for many years as an anchor and also done a few science-based shows in DD regional channel, said the time has come when government should give Doordarshan freedom to do something different, as it is a parent organisation of the government it sometimes comes under censorship pressure of the government. “Despite having all infrastructure and funds, it fails to reach its past potential. Also, new blood is needed in the DD who can create something different.”
Notably, the government policies’ and schemes’ information is being broadcast to millions through Doordarshan which is a source of infotainment in rural areas.