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Quiz master plans media school

August 09, 2003 10:30 IST

Siddhartha Basu, best known for his Mastermind quiz programme on BBC World, is looking at options to set up a world class media training centre offering advanced professional courses.

"The project report for the school is ready and I am now looking beyond to find out what are the funding options for such an institution," Basu told Business Standard.

A plain vanilla fund-raising option such as an initial public offering is likely to be inadequate for the venture.

Basu said he is determined to make the venture self-sustaining and viable but it will not be driven by short-term profit considerations.

"I am very sensitive about the lowest common denominator approach that is ruling the industry now and I will not join the bandwagon," he said.

The school will be seeking not just to upgrade professional skills but it will also seek to make a difference in the way programming is done in the country and contribute to the development of public broadcasting.

"I have always shied away from making a business out of the work I do. But I realise now that without a structure the project in hand cannot move forward," Basu admitted.

Hence the decision to structure the operations, though Basu said he would prefer the project to be handled by a non-profit body.

Basu has surveyed a large number of media courses on offer overseas. BBC itself has a division offering training and professional development in the field.

The overseas courses are generally very expensive and intensive, lasting for a week or less. However, they offer a mix of theory and practicals that the existing Indian courses lacked.

"The Indian media courses are entirely theoretical and cannot meet the demand from the 150-odd Indian TV channels operating in the country," said Basu.

The quizmaster was in Kolkata to launch BBC' University Challenge, which pit universities and institutions of similar status such as engineering and management schools against each other in a hi-tech environment. It offers a mix of starter and bonus questions.

"College level quizzing in India will be revived through this programme after a lull of nearly 20 years," said Basu.
BS Bureau in Kolkata