Foreign privatised channels like CNN, Star TV and domestic channels, such as, Zee TV and Sun TV started satellite broadcasts. Starting with 41 sets in 1962 and one channel known as the Audience Research unit in 1991; presently private channels in India cater to more than 70 million homes. A large relatively unexploited market, easy accessibility of relevant technology and a variety of programmes are the main reasons for rapid expansion of Television in India. It must be focused that private television entertainment in India is one of the cheapest in the world.
India has more than 130 million homes with television sets, of which nearly 71 million have connection to cable TV. The overall Cable TV market in India is growing at a robust rate of 8-10%. The industry of private television channels exploded in India, during the early 1990s when the broadcast industry was liberalised and saw the entry of many foreign players like Rupert Murdoch's Star TV Network in 1991, MTV, and others. The emergence and notification of the HDVSL standard as a home grown Indian digital cable standard shall open an era of interactivity on private networks.
Presently, Indian television is on an uproar with private television channels. Sun TV (India) was launched in 1992 as the first private channel in South India. Today it has around 20 television channels in the four South Indian languages, namely Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu. Channels of the Sun TV network are also available outside India. Recently Sun TV launched a DTH service. The Raj Television Network was started in 1994 and is still an important player in the South Indian cable TV provider space. The Raj Television Network operates two channels in Tamil - Raj TV and Raj Digital Plus. The content distributed by these two channels includes music videos, movies, and other entertainment programs for the entire family. Through its two channels - Raj TV, Raj Digital Plus, the network presents its viewers some of the best shows in the world of South Indian entertainment today. This network has built up a library of some of Tamil and Telegu films from the nostalgic old favourites to the contemporary box office hits. Recently, Raj Television Network has capitalised on the increasing demand for news that is unbiased, timely and accurate.
In 1992, the government liberated its entertainment markets, thus, opening them up to private television. Five new channels belonging to the Hong Kong based STAR TV brought about a fresh breath of life - MTV, STAR Plus, BBC, Prime Sports and STAR Chinese Channel were the 5 private channels. Zee TV was the first private owned Indian channel to broadcast over private television. After few years, channels like CNN, Discovery Channel and National Geographic Channel made its entry in India. Star expanded its bouquet introducing STAR World, STAR Sports, ESPN and STAR Gold. Regional channels flourished along with a large number of Hindi channels and a few English channels. By 2001 HBO and History Channel were the other international channels to enter India. By 2001-2003, other international private channels such as Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, VH1, Disney and Toon Disney entered the boundaries of India. In 2003 news channels started to boom. Music channels had a great popularity in India, since its inception. Movie based channels; and soaps started dominating Indian private channels.
Satellite Television for the Asian Region (STAR) is an Asian TV service owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. It is based in Hong Kong, with programming offices in India and Australia, as well as in other south Asian countries. The service of STAR is more than 300 million viewers in 54 countries and is watched by approximately 100 million viewers every day. STAR 's revenues have increased from $220 million in 2003 to $245 million in 2004. STAR has emerged as India's second-largest media company after Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. which is the publisher of Times of India.
Zee TV was founded by Subhash Chandra and launched in India in October 1992, becoming the first Hindi private channel. Zee TV is owned by Zee Entertainment Enterprises, and is one of the most popular Indian private channels. This network carries broadcasts in Hindi and other regional languages of India. ZEE TV is a part of the Essel Group. This channel formerly had a partnership with STAR TV. However, STAR ended their partnership with ZEE TV when Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation acquired STAR TV. Besides the above mentioned channels many more regional private channels have been introduced in Indian television that caters to the local audience. COLORS channel was launched on 21st July 2008 and it offers an entire spectrum of emotions to the viewers; starting from fictions, daily soaps to reality shows and hit movies. Meenakshi Sagar Productions, Balaji Telefilms, Endemol India, Wizcraft Television, Deepti Bhatnagar Productions, Playtime Creations, Sphere Origins, JayPranlal Mehta are some of the production houses that operate on Indian private channels.
Indian private channels are some of the power packed entertainment boosters for the audience that still feature the essence of the bygone era by airing nostalgic black and white films and retrospective of well known actors. However, the regular soaps and reality shows have earned immense popularity amongst all other programmes on the Indian private channels on television.