Prasar Bharati has expedited the process for developing an over-the-top (OTT) platform through which it plans to provide a range of services in collaboration with the other prominent players in the industry. The project is expected to materialise early next year.
“We have invited e-tenders from reputed Indian bidders for the selection of master system integrator for the design, development, implementation, operations and maintenance of the OTT platform,” said a government official. The bids will be opened on November 1. The estimate contract value is ₹166 crore and the contracted works are to be implemented for 60 months, according to the Notice Inviting Open e-Tender.
While the OTT framework is being conceptualised, deliberations are also under way to determine the types of content which would be provided through the platform. They may include valuable material from Doordarshan’s archive and syndicated works, apart from the fresh programmes being broadcast via its channels. “Over the past few months, there has been a significant improvement in viewership figures, with new programmes of various genres and fresh films being introduced,” said the official.
Agreements with other OTT platforms
According to sources, Prasar Bharati is also exploring the possibility of entering into agreements with other popular OTT platforms for content sharing with the maximum possible reach. “Already, a large number of private channels have been operating through our DD Free Dish service. The same model may be replicated,” the official said.
Prasar Bharati had last year signed an agreement with Yupp TV, also an OTT platform, in order to make DD India accessible in Singapore, Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe.
In January, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had approved the Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s proposal as regards the Central sector scheme “Broadcasting Infrastructure and Network Development (BIND)” at a cost of ₹2,539.61 crore for infrastructure development of Prasar Bharati till 2025-26.
“The allocation of funds has given a fillip to the plans for further upgrade and expansion of the public service broadcaster’s operations,” another official pointed out. Under the BIND scheme, Prasar Bharati is in the process of distributing over eight lakh free DD DTH receiver sets to widen its reach in the Left-Wing Extremism affected, border and strategic areas, as well as the “aspirational” districts.
The DD Free Dish capacity is being expanded from the existing 116 to about 250 channels. It has an estimated 4.30 crore connections, making it the country’s largest DTH platform. As part of the scheme, 28 regional Doordarshan channels are being made HD programme production capable, while several of its earth stations are to be upgraded or replaced across the country for uplinking HDTV channels. The Hindu