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OTT Platform For Prasar Bharati: A New Approach Of The Public Broadcaster.

To expand its reach, the government plans to hold a new auction of FM radio stations, launch an OTT platform, and perform direct-to-mobile television broadcast experiments this year, according to Information and Broadcasting Secretary Apurva Chandra. They are also planning an auction of FM radio stations this year, to bring FM radio to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, he said at the Broadcast Engineering Society Expo. Even though there were many FM radio stations, he claimed that the service only covered 60% of the country.

Projects under the belt.

According to Chandra, the government has allocated 2,500 crores for the Broadcasting Infrastructure and Network Development (BIND) Programme to broaden Prasar Bharati’s coverage, especially in Left-wing extremism, border, and critical areas. 

Govt plans OTT platform, direct-to-mobile TV, FM auction to increase footprint

The execution of the Broadcast Infrastructure Network Development (BIND) project would result in a dramatic facelift for DD and AIR channels, with the installation of cutting-edge broadcasting and studio equipment at Prasar Bharati facilities. IIT-Kanpur and Sankhya Laboratories, according to Chandra, have deployed transmitters along Kartavya Trail and other locations to show how television signals may be directly transmitted to mobile phones.

The capacity of DD Free Dish will be enhanced from 116 to around 250 channels to give viewers a rich and diversified bouquet of free channels, according to authorities.

Other projects to be implemented under the scheme include the following.

  1. DDK Vijayawada and Leh earth stations are planned to be enhanced to 24-hour channels. 
  2. Creating a DD Free Dish disaster recovery mechanism to guarantee consistent DTH service in the situation of an emergency or natural disaster.
  3. Employing fly-away units to cover VVIP coverages and important national ceremonies and events.

Although 28 regional Doordarshan channels will be converted into high-definition (HD) program production Kendras, 31 regional news units across the DD network will be updated and modernized with cutting-edge technology for effective and appropriate data collection, according to the official.

Projects to update and replace earth stations for uplinking HDTV channels at DDK Guwahati, Imphal, Shillong, Agartala, Aizawl, Itanagar, Gangtok, Kohima, and Port Blair would also be initiated, according to the official.

How this approach will help in extending reach?

Television broadcasts may now be received straight on your mobile device. This is an intriguing technology that has the potential to expand the reach of television media, he stated. Adding on, he mentioned that to get television signals. Mobile phone users will need to attach a specific adapter to their devices.

Government plans OTT platform for Prasar Bharati & FM auction, says I&B secretory.

According to Chandra, mobile phone makers must be urged to include a particular chip in their handsets so that television signals may be received without the use of a dongle. Prasar Bharati, the public broadcaster, has a lot of archive videos that it hasn’t been able to monetize as they can be suitable for the OTT platform, according to Chandra. They are currently developing an OTT platform for Prasar Bharti material. Due to the lack of an OTT platform, new content, such as the ‘Swaraj’ series, is not available on the internet. They intend to do so in 2023-24. 

According to D P S Negi, Member (Finance) Prasar Bharati, India would have one billion smartphone users by 2026. He claimed that direct-to-mobile (D2M) technology allowed video and other multimedia information to be delivered directly to mobile phones without the need for an active internet connection. This is similar to how FM radio works on cell phones. Allocating spectrum for D2M will be a significant difficulty, Negi said.

Earlier efforts towards the generation of OTT platform.

According to a senior source, Prasar Bharati explored the idea of developing an OTT platform earlier this month, months after it secured a partnership with YuppTV to enhance the worldwide reach of Doordarshan’s DD India channel. In March of last year, Prasar Bharati announced an agreement with YuppTV, an OTT platform, to make DD India available in several countries, including Singapore, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand, in addition to the Middle East and Europe.

Generating employment.

In addition, the scheme’s execution of developing an OTT platform will generate indirect jobs through manufacturing and services connected to the sale and installation of broadcast equipment. In the content creation industry, content generating for OTT will also create direct and indirect jobs in many media industries, the source noted.

Government plans OTT platform for Prasar Bharati & FM auction, says I&B secretory.

The last call. 

As we are heading towards the era of OTT platforms, the agency must mark its presence on this platform as well. It will not only generate a new source of monetization for the agency but also create ample job opportunities for the Indian population as well. 

Edited by Prakriti Arora

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