(Last Updated on : 03/05/2013)
Indian Television has reached a supreme status of credibility and entertainment. Existing since last four decades, Indian Television is believed to be the first mammoth step in the domain of Indian communication. For the first 17 years, the popularity of Indian television had spread haltingly and transmission was usually in black and white format. However, Indian television has come in the forefront in the past 20 years and the journey was long yet interesting. The Indian television industry is presently a huge industry by itself Indian television is one of the most sought after medium for entertaining both in the urban and the rural areas.
In this huge industry of entertainment and information, thousands of programmes are aired in the various channels that represent almost all the states of India. Indian television, often known as the small screen has produced numerous celebrities of their own kind some even attaining national fame. TV soaps, serials, reality shows are extremely popular with housewives as well as working women. Several small screen actors have made noteworthy careers in Indian television.
History of Indian Television
dates back to the 1980s and its programming started off in the early 1980s. At that time there was only one national channel - Doordarshan
, which was government owned and had monopoly across its audiences. Highly popular television soap operas, beginning with Hum Log
in 1984-85, sparked a programming revolution at Doordarshan. The main lesson learned from this experience was that an indigenous television program could attract and build a large loyal audience over the duration of the serial, generating huge profits. The advertising carried by Hum Log promoted a new consumer product in India, Maggi 2-Minute Noodles. The public rapidly accepted this new consumer product, suggesting the power of television commercials. Advertisers began to line up to purchase the idea of television advertising, and the commercialization of Doordarshan got under way.
Hum Log was quickly followed by Buniyaad
, a historical soap opera about the partition of British India into India and Pakistan in 1947. In 1987, Ramayana
, a Hindu religious epic, attracted smash ratings, to be then eclipsed by the phenomenally successful Mahabharata
in 1988-89. These serials reached up the world record in numbers of viewer ship for a single program. In the 1990s, serials were in abundance on Doordarshan: big hits included historical serials such as The Sword of Tipu Sultan
and The Great Maratha, religious serials such as Shri Krishna, Jai Hanuman, and Om Namah Shivay, fantasy serials like Shaktimaan, and family serials like Shanti, Hum Raahi, and Udaan. These popular television programs attracted large audiences, and generated vast advertising earnings for the Indian government through Doordarshan. Advertisers quickly understood the advantages of advertising their products on a medium that reached a huge national audience.
India was one of the first developing countries to experiment with satellite television, when in 1975-76 it launched the Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE). Evaluations of SITE showed that its operational management, supervised by officials of the Space Application Center (SAC), was admirable.
The hardware of satellites, earth stations, uplinks and downlinks, worked wonderfully. On a given day, more than 80 percent of the television sets worked efficiently to deliver television pictures to 2,400 villages. Presently, over 300 TV Satellite television channels are broadcast in India. This includes channels from the state-owned Doordarshan, News Corporation owned STAR TV, Sony owned Sony Entertainment Television, Sun Network and Zee TV. Direct home service is provided by Airtel Digital Tv, DD Direct Plus, BIG TV, Dish TV and Tata Sky. These services are provided by locally built satellites from ISRO such as INSAT 4CR, INSAT-2E, INSAT 4A, INSAT-3C and INSAT-3E as well as private satellites such as the Global-owned NSS 6, Dutch-based SES, Thaicom-2 and Telstar 10.
By the late 1980s more and more people started to own television sets; though there was a single channel, television programming had reached saturation. Hence the government opened up another channel known as DD 2 later DD Metro that featured national programming and regional ones as well. Both channels were broadcast terrestrially. The central government launched a series of economic and social reforms in 1991 under Prime Minister P.V Narasimha Rao
. Gradually, the Indian government allowed private and foreign broadcasters. Foreign channels like CNN
, Star TV
and domestic channels such as Zee TV
and Sun TV started satellite broadcasts. A large comparatively unexploited market, easy accessibility of relevant technology and a variety of programmes are the primary reasons for rapid expansion of Television in India.
Cable television has been occupying a vital position in the progress of Indian television. According to a recent review, India has over 130 million homes with television sets, of which nearly 71 million have access to cable TV. The cable TV industry in India exploded in the early 1990s when the broadcast industry was liberalised, and saw the entry of many foreign players like Star TV Network in 1991, MTV, and others. Sun TV (India) was launched in 1992 as the first private channel in South India.
Presently, Indian television and private television channels have become an iconic representation. The private television networks in India encourage commercialization and consumerism through the advertisements they carry, and through the products that actors and actresses in entertainment programs, especially imported from the Western programmes, wear and consume. The privatisation of Indian television in the 1990s resulted in the westernisation of Indian society in several significant ways. This was an inevitable consequence of living in a global village. Regional channels flourished along with a multitude of Hindi channels and a few English channels.
In 1992, the government liberated its markets, opening them up to cable television. MTV
, STAR Plus
, BBC, Prime Sports and STAR Chinese Channel were the 5 channels gave Indians a fresh breath of life. Zee TV was the first private owned Indian channel to broadcast over cable. A few years later CNN, Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel
entered India. Star expanded its telecast introducing STAR World, STAR Sports, ESPN
and Star Gold
. By 2001 HBO
and History Channel
were the other international channels entering India. By 2001-2003, other international channels such as Nickelodeon
, Cartoon Network
, VH1, Disney and Toon Disney came into foray.
Conditional Access System or CAS is a digital mode of transmitting TV channels through a set-top box (STB). The transmission signals are encrypted and viewers need to install a set-top box to receive and decrypt the signal. The STB is required to watch only pay channels. The idea of CAS was mooted in 2001, due to a commotion over charge hikes by channels and subsequently by cable operators. CAS was first introduced in the four metros and eventually its acceptance is seen in other Indian cities and towns as well. The rapid spread of Indian television, presently ensures covering over 35 million homes is expected to reach 60 million homes. With the passage of time, Indian television has ensured a position as a developing country to recognize and implement the significance of audio visual communication.