labels: entertainment, doordarshan
Doordarshan to change image, appoints J Walter Thompsonnews
Mohini Bhatnagar
22 April 2003

Better late than never. At least in the case of Doordarshan (DD), which is now seriously considering to don a brand-new robe.

When smart-looking channels like Star, Zee and Sony hit Indian television screens about a decade ago, DD's monopoly was abruptly shattered, at least in the cities. It was expected then that the national broadcaster would soon shake out of its inertia and try and compete.

Nevertheless, even as DD sporadically tried to change its image, once by inducting 21 fresh newscasters followed by new programmes on DD Metro, somehow it all didn't work out as desired. The channel continued to look stodgy and dull to the extent that in the present-day context it has become the most unwatched channel in urban India.

DD officials feel the channel urgently needs a makeover. Says Doordarshan director general Dr S Y Quraishim: "Despite our reach and pre-eminent position in several areas, we are faced with an image problem. We are keen to correct the public perception of our image."

Hence DD is moving towards a complete change in its image. And for the first time in the 44 years of its existence, the organisation has appointed an ad agency, J Walter Thompson (JWT), on a retainership basis to handle its campaigns. Before this DD hired agencies only on an assignment basis.

JWT was selected from among nine ad agencies. The others in the running were Ogilvy, Lowe, FCB Ulka, TBWA Anthem, RK Swamy BBDO, Equus Redcell, Crayons and Ushak Kaal.

JWT will work on a retainership worth Rs 60 lakh yearly, and will handle total branding and strategic planning of all campaigns, development of creatives for print, outdoor and Internet advertisements, ideas and concepts for conferences and events.

While JWT will handle the creatives, the media-buying activities would be the responsibility of Prasar Bharati itself. It is learnt that DD has entered into agreements with several print medium products for a barter deal for advertisements related to DD. The pubcaster along with JWT plans to launch a campaign targeted at advertisers and media planners.

The agency will also chalk out a strategy to aggressively promote programmes in collaboration with producers. Besides this DD plans to enter into barter deals with newspapers and magazines, in lieu of airtime on various DD channels.

The organisation has in recent years been at the mercy of the central government's grants. In the last fiscal DD garnered advertising and sponsorship revenue to the tune of Rs 553 crore as against a target of Rs 615 crore while the total annual expenditure for the organisation was Rs 1,800 crore. The balance was met through a government grant.

For the current financial year (2003-04), the broadcaster has set a revenue target of around Rs 550 crore.

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Doordarshan to change image, appoints J Walter Thompson