Doordarshan could soon get a bigger slice of the revenue pie in lucrative sport broadcasting deals.

At its board meeting on Tuesday, Prasar Bharati — the umbrella body that includes Doordarshan and All India Radio — proposed a policy amendment to the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act. Passed in 2007, it mandates that any live telecast of events of national importance be shared with Prasar Bharati, with Doordarshan getting to keep 25 per cent of the advertisement revenue while 75 per cent is given to the original content rights owner.

The Prasar Bharati Board has suggested that this arrangement be changed to a 50:50 revenue sharing ratio to ensure a level-playing field for the national broadcaster. “After detailed discussions, it was decided that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will be requested for immediate implementation of this recommendation because of the heavy financial consequences being imposed on Doordarshan due to the unequal playing field provided under the present dispensation, said a press release issued after the meeting.

The board also approved further expansion of Doordarshan's Direct-to-Home (DTH) platform, to reach 150 channels by year-end and add another 100 by the end of next year. Considering that the e-auction method has worked so well for DTH — the latest auction of six vacant slots garnered prices ranging from Rs. 3.21 crore to Rs. 3.5 crore per year — Prasar Bharati is considering the same method for the programming of slots on Doordarshan as well.

With regard to AIR's FM network, the board has approved immediate expansion to all 313 cities that were planned for coverage. It has allocated Rs. 300 crore as a bridge finance amount, which will be recouped from the government once the expansion scheme is adopted into the 12th Five-Year Plan.

AIR will also get 2,183 new office and management job positions to cover new projects and the Jammu and Kashmir special package. A similar scheme for Doordarshan is likely to be approved by month-end. To strengthen Prasar Bharati's financial and accounting wing, nine new senior positions have been created.

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