Sunday, April 11, 2010
India:: 11th Plan Spends US$350m on Radio and TV Networks
Indian Government Spends More on National Radio and TV Networks in Face of Growing Commercial Broadcaster Competition - Move to Benefit Audio and Video Equipment Manufacturers Digital Broadcast Vendor News Asia (DBVNA) has been following India's development of its terrestrial digital broadcasting under the country's 11th Five Year Plan (2007-2012). On April 8, 2010 the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure (CCI) approved proposals from the Ministry of Broadcasting for Doordarshan (TV) and Akashvani (All India Radio) to digitise its transmitter networks, and studio output. The move costing Rs 1,540 crore (nearly US$350 million) is to help maintain the state radio and TV broadcasters leading role in light of increasing challenges from the private broadcasters. This move will likely prove a true bonanza for digital broadcast equipment manufacturers. The Minister for Information and Broadcasting Minister, Ms Ambika Soni said that the expansion program was to bring people in the remotest regions of the country more program choice and highest quality of transmission, including HDTV. Some 60 per cent of the budget would go to AIR and the rest to DD. DD would see 40 new digital transmitters installed linked by satellite that would increase the choice from eight DD channels to 10 for most viewers. The liberalization of commercial radio has reached Phase III - bringing radio to towns with populations of around 100,000 population. Digital Broadcast Vendor News Asia notes that Minister Ambika sees Radio Phase III as posing a serious challenge to the current role of AIR in these areas/markets. This has prompted more urgent development of the Akashvani radio network to face head on the new market circumstances. The spending under the 11th Plan will involve replacement of Medium Wave transmitters with digital transmitters, digitalisation of studio operations and network links, establishment of regional digital archives and further newsroom automation.