Doordarshan as a public broadcaster has been successfully discharging its special responsibility to give balanced and unbiased news without sensationalizing as well as by carrying different shades of opinion. Considering the perceived need for a dedicated news channel on Doordarshan’s platform and building on its twin advantage, viz., viewers loyalty to DD’s in-house news bulletins and the greater revenue potential on account of DD-Metro’s terrestrial reach, the Prasar Bharati Board approved the proposal to start a 24-hours news channel in place of DD-Metro. This was subsequently approved by the Union Cabinet in its meeting held on 3 October 2003. Consequent to these decisions, DD-News channel was launched on 3 November 2003 by converting DD-Metro into a 24-hours news channel. Its terrestrial reach is 21.6% by area and 44.9% by population of the country.
DD News quickly gained popularity among the viewers, exceeding its commercial revenue target of Rs. 2 crores, for 2003-04, and the channel earned Rs. 10 crores. The popularity of the channel amongst advertisers continues unabated and the revenue figures for the current year (04-05) have already crossed Rs. 10 crores.
The foremost benefit that has accrued to Doordarshan as a result of the launch of the DD News channel is the reactivation of a large volume of quality in-house production. This was achieved through a higher utilization of the in-house infrastructure than hitherto achieved.
A wide variety of programmes, in different formats, were launched on the channel. A few of these are listed below:
Extensive coverage of the SAARC Summit held in Islamabad, including live news bulletins from there – A First for Doordarshan.
Special series on the Indo-Pak cricket series held in Pakistan.
Special programmes in the run up to, and the subsequent coverage of the General Elections 2004.
Special news bulletins devoted to business, sports and the states.
Current Affairs programmes on Health, Crime, Films, Foreign Affairs, Issue of the Day.
Continuous scrolling of news headlines throughout 24 hrs transmission and updating of the same and telecast of news digest on hourly basis.
Scrolling of stock ticker during the weekdays.
In addition to the round the clock telecast of Hindi/ English News on DD- News channel, news bulletins in Hindi/ English are also telecast twice a day on the National Network of DD-1. Regional News Bulletins in different regional languages are also being telecast in the Regional transmissions of DD-1 from 22 Doordarshan Kendras. Regional News Bulletins are also being telecast in various regional language satellite services channels of Doordarshan.