| 15 Apr 2024
Plans to monetise AIR and DD archives, can be a way towards independent pubcaster

MUMBAI: In case there is doubt on how All India Radio (AIR) would survive if it becomes autonomous, then the reply to that would be their archives which include speeches and performances by many renowned personalities. A team from AIR are working on monetising the archives.

Archival Marketing Group is working closely with AIR employees to market Prasar Bharati's archival programmes. The three member group, set-up couple of years ago, includes- Chairman Subroto Chattopadhyay (former Saregama MD and chairman of The Peninsula Foundation), member Sudha Gopalakrishnan (executive director at Sahapedia and former mission director of the National Mission for Manuscripts); and member Vikram Sampath (founder Archive of Indian Music).

Chattopadhyay said, "We are working together on building further capacity and capability in AIR and DD. We are creating a process that will help the archive be marketed in the best possible way." Chattopadhyay incubates FMCG, entertainment and knowledge and insights businesses as well.

AIR houses music recordings which run into more than 17500 hours. It has 12000 tapes consisting of Hindustani, Carnatic and Folk music; and 190 Radio Autobiographies. It has approximately transferred 17500 Hours of content into digital Medium so far. There are about 10000 tapes yet to be transferred. AIR has managed to release CDs containing Hindustani vocal/ instrumental, Carnatic Vocal/ instrumental and Light/Devotional/Patriotic music.

The national pubcaster holds contains speeches of leaders who fought for the freedom of India like Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose, Dr. B.R.Ambedkar, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Sarojini Naidu and others, which is not available to any other media houses in India or around the world. The content includes both, controversial statements and humble statements, not just by politicians but by artistes too.

The material has been edited and developed in a format where people can purchase it. AIR is working towards developing a new website which would be friendly and have a payment gateway. Prasar Bharati ADG (Programme) Amitabh Shukla, who is working closely in monetising AIR and DD said, "Apart from regular mode of CD, we are trying to make the archival content available through a payment gateway on our new website. We are building on a new website which will strengthen our presence on the web."

Shukla further stressed, "We are trying to capture global audience through this initiative. The website will introduce a tailor –made section for buyers based on their special requests." He has been working on the project for 90 days now. "The portal is a challenge for us as we are trying to link it to various other website," Shukla added. In case, you are on IRTC website or any government portals, you might see AIR website present there.

Chattopadhyay strongly believes that it is the determination of the team of AIR and DD which helped him put the material in place. "It is a huge task as it involves technological challenge and legal issues that need to be dealt with before using any material that is available." According to reports, the archive has spent Rs 15 to 16 lakh from the end of 2011 to 2013 in importing equipment, buying records, incubating the website, and accessing technicians to do the digitising.

It is the 87th Year of Broadcasting in India, and hopefully it will soon be able achieve its target and change many views about the pubcaster.

All India Radio broadcasts programmes in 23 Languages and 146 Dialects through AIR's 413 Broadcasting Centres and 584 Transmitters, 21 DTH Channels besides its Vividh Bharati Service, External Services Division, News Services Division and above all FM Gold and FM Rainbow channels. Thus the source of content is never ending.

AIR and its News services Division are active on social media network sites- Facebook. Twitter, Soundcloud and YouTube. It claims to have one the largest library of Indian Music recordings.