“I became a journalist to come as close as possible to the heart of the world.” – Henry Luce

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Indian Television Trend

Television was introduced in India on September 15, 1959 in Delhi, little over two decades after British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) began the first television service of the world in 1936. It was with the help provided by UNESCO that it all started.  The programmes were broadcast twice a week for an hour a day on such topics as community health, citizens’ duties and rights, and traffic and road sense.

In 1961 the broadcasts were expanded to include a school educational television project. The first major expansion of television in India began in 1972, when a second television station was opened in Bombay. This was followed by stations in Srinagar and Amritsar (1973), and Calcutta, Madras and Lucknow in 1975.  For the first 17 years, broadcasting of television spread haltingly and transmission was in black and white. By 1976, the network consisted of eight television stations covering a population of 45 million spread over 75,000 square kilometers. Faced with the difficulty of administering such an extensive television system as part of All India Radio, the government constituted Doordarshan, the national television network, as a separate Department under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
There were three ignition points that triggered the phenomenal growth of television in India from mid 1970s. First: The Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE). Conducted between August 1975 and July 1976, it used a satellite to broadcast educational programmes to villages across six states. The objective was to use television for development, though entertainment programmes were also included. It actually brought television closer to the masses. Second: INSAT-1A, the first of the country's domestic communications satellites became operational in 1982 and made possible the networking of all of Doordarshan's regional stations. For the first time Doordarshan originated a nation-wide feed dubbed the "National Programme" which was fed from Delhi to the other stations. In November 1982, the country hosted the Asian Games and the government introduced color broadcasts for the coverage of the games.
The third spark came in the early nineties with the broadcast of satellite TV by foreign programmers like CNN followed by Star TV and a little later by domestic channels such as Zee TV and Sun TV into Indian homes.  More television sets were added in Indian homes. Access to television also increased.
Present Status
There are nearly 138 million households (out of total 223 million) in India who own a television. Cable penetration has reached 80% with the help of the Direct to Home (DTH) platform. The total number of TV channels (both private and government owned) grew from 461 in 2009 to 626 in January 2011. The number of News and Current Affairs channels was 312 and that of Non-News and Current Affairs channels was 314 up till January 2011. A total of 75 channels have been down-linked till January 2011 by a number of foreign broadcasters.

Key Trends
Digitization: Digitization continues to be a key growth driver for the industry. DTH achieved robust growth of  subscriber . With the regulatory push on digitization, ongoing 3G rollouts, increasing mobile and broadband penetration, the market for digital distribution platforms is growing.

Regional media consumption is expected to continue to rise. Realising the power of regional media, national and foreign players have ventured into regional markets .  Meanwhile regional players have achieved scale and are now looking to go national

New Media: The past decade marked the convergence of media and technology; of user generated content, social media and new publishing models that have changed the way of media consumption. The new breeds of smart TVs are offering excellent convergence opportunities.

Regulation to drive growth: The government’s thrust on digitization and addressability for cable television, is expected to increase the pace of digitization leading to tremendous growth in DTH and digital cable.

Niche formats: Increasing audience segmentation is driving content and delivery. Television showed signs of this growing trend through the launch of several new niche channel genres such as food, action movies etc. It has now become to assess trends for continually changing customer preferences, lifestyles and media buying habits and incorporate the understanding in focused content, marketing and delivery strategies for each target audience segment.

Consumer Understanding: With increasing fragmentation and intensity of competition, a deeper understanding of cultural and social references through focused study groups will enable players to target their consumers specifically and build loyalty.

Innovation: It is becoming increasingly important for industry players to continuously innovate new formats and strategies in order to enable brand loyalty help expand the market.

Consolidation: Mature players are increasingly looking to build scale across the media value chain and explore cross media synergies. In addition, existing foreign players are looking to expand their Indian portfolio and several other are expected to make an entry into India. Inorganic growth is likely to be a preferred route for many of these players. With increased digitization and accountability, Indian media companies are also expected to generate greater interest from private equity players.
Challenges for Doordarshan
The stupendous growth in television made Doordarshan, India’s national broadcaster one of the players from the exalted position of the sole player. Its monopoly was long gone.
In 1997, Doordarshan and AIR were converted into government corporations under Prasar Bharati, which was established to serve as the public service broadcaster of the country and to provide greater autonomy for DD and AIR.

Fifty three years after it switched on, Doordarshan is facing ‘3 R’ challenges: Reach, Relevance and Revenue, like the public service broadcasters of many countries are facing now. With more and more channels jostling for eyeballs (with innovative programming at the best and prurient and provocative at the worst) Doordarshan is losing viewers. Losing viewers (especially the high disposable income urban ones) means losing revenue as well. Critics argue that losing viewers also at the end of the day mean losing relevance.
Future of Doordarshan
Doordarshan now stands at a cross road. With the advancement of technology and change of viewer’s profile and audience taste
Doordarshan needs to reinvent itself.
. In the management domain, it needs good managers who can take and implement decisions and instill good professional work culture.
 In the hardware domain, it needs to upgrade to full digital platform.
It has to be convergence friendly, fully adaptable to a net savvy environment.
Its contents need to be streamed across delivery platforms including social media. 

Source: The author, a journalist turned media academician presently heads Eastern India campus of Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) located in Dhenkanal, Odisha.


Search This Blog

Total Pageviews

Powered by Blogger.

Search This Blog


The Right to Information Act 2005

The Right to Information Act 2005, is a revision of the Freedom of Information Act 2002.    Right to Information (RTI) is basically a deri...

Contact Form


Email *

Message *