Television in India
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Television in India is a huge industry which has thousands of programmes in many languages. The small screen has produced numerous celebrities, some even attaining national fame. More than half of all Indian households own a television. As of 2012, the country has a collection of free and subscription services over a variety of distribution media, through which there are over 823 channels of which 184 are pay channels.
Terrestrial television in India started with the experimental telecast starting in Delhi on 15 September 1959 (official launch date) with a small transmitter and a makeshift studio. The regular daily transmission started in 1965 as a part of All India Radio. The television service was extended to Bombay (now Mumbai) and Amritsar in 1972. Up until 1975, only seven Indian cities had a television service. Television services were separated from radio in 1976. National telecasts were introduced in 1982. In the same year, colour TV was introduced in the Indian market. Indian small screen programming started off in the early 1980s. At that time there was only one national channel Doordarshan, which was government owned. The Ramayana and Mahabharata (both Indian spiritual & mythological stories) were the first major television series produced. This serial notched up the world record in viewership numbers for a single program. 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 which had part national programming and part regional. This channel was known as DD 2 later DD Metro. Both channels were broadcast terrestrially.
PAS-1 and PAS-4 are satellites whose transponders help in the telecasting of DD programmes in half the regions of the world. An international channel called DD International was started in 1995 and it telecasts programmes for 19 hours a day to foreign countries-via PAS-4 to Europe, Asia and Africa, and via PAS-1 to North America.
TV Programs: The eighties was the era of Doordarshan with shows like Hum Log (1984), Buniyaad (1986–87) and comedy shows like Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi (1984), Mythological dramas like Ramayan (1987–88) and Mahabharat (1989–90) glued millions to Doordarshan and later on Bharat Ek Khoj, The Sword of Tipu Sultan and Chandrakanta. Hindi film songs based programs like Chitrahaar, Rangoli, Superhit Muqabla crime thrillers like Karamchand, Byomkesh Bakshi. Shows targeted at children include Dada Dadi ki Kahaniyan, Vikram Betal, Malgudi Days, Tenali Rama.
It is also noted that Prabir Roy, had the distinction of introducing colour T.V. coverage in India in February - March,(1982) during the 1st Nehru Cup which was held at Eden Gardens, Kolkata with 5 on-line camera operation, long before Doordarshan started the same during the Delhi Asian Games in November 1982.
Television channels and networks
|This section is outdated. (March 2013)|
The central government launched a series of economic and social reforms in 1991 under Prime Minister Narasimha Rao. Under the new policies the government allowed private and foreign broadcasters to engage in limited operations in India. This process has been pursued consistently by all subsequent federal administrations. Foreign channels like CNN, STAR TV and private domestic channels such as Zee TV, ETV and Sun TV started satellite broadcasts. Starting with 41 sets in 1992 and one channel, by 1995, TV in India covered more than 70 million homes giving a viewing population of more than 400 million individuals through more than 100 channels.
Over-the-air and free-to-air TV is free with no monthly payments while Cable, DTH, and IPTV require a monthly payment that varies depending on how many channels a subscriber chooses to pay for. Channels are usually sold in groups or a la carte. All television service providers are required by law to provide a la carte selection of channels.
Broadcast television is Indian Government through state-owned Prasar Bharati Corporation, with the Doordarshan group of channels being the only broadcaster. As such, cable television is the primary source of TV programming in India.
As per the TAM Annual Universe Update - 2010, India now has over 134 million households (out of 223 million) with television sets, of which over 103 million have access to Cable TV or Satellite TV, including 20 million households which are DTH subscribers. In Urban India, 85% of all households have a TV and over 70% of all households have access to Satellite, Cable or DTH services. TV owning households have been growing at between 8-10%, while growth in Satellite/Cable homes exceeded 15% and DTH subscribers grew 28% over 2009. (However, some analysts place the number of households with television access at closer to 180 million since roughly a third of all rural families may watch television at a neighboring relatives home, and argue that Cable TV households are probably closer to 120 million owing to a certain percentage of informal/unregistered Cable Networks that aren't counted by mainstream surveys). It is also estimated that India now has over 823 TV channels covering all the main languages spoken in the nation.
In 1991, the Indian government led by P. V. Narasimha Rao started a series of economic reforms including the liberalization of the broadcasting industry, opening it up to cable television. This led to an explosion in the Indian cable TV industry and saw the entry of many foreign players like Rupert Murdoch's Star TV Network, MTV and others.
Star TV Network introduced five major television channels into the Indian broadcasting space that had so far been monopolised by the Indian government-owned Doordarshan: MTV, STAR Plus, Star Movies, BBC, Prime Sports and STAR Chinese Channel. Soon after, India saw the launch of Zee TV, the first privately owned Indian channel to broadcast over cable followed by Asia Television Network (ATN). A few years later CNN, Discovery Channel amd National Geographic Channel made their foray into India. Later, Star TV Network expanded its bouquet with the introduction of STAR World India, STAR Sports, ESPN, Channel V and STAR Gold.
With the launch of the Tamil Sun TV (India) in 1992, South India saw the birth of its first private television channel. With a network comprising more than 20 channels in various South Indian languages, Sun TV network recently launched a DTH service and its channels are now available in several countries outside India. Following Sun TV, several television channels sprung up in the south. Among these are the Tamil channel Raj Television and the Malayalam channel Asianet, both launched in 1993. These three networks and their channels today take up most of the broadcasting space in South India. In 1994, industrialist N. P. V. Ramasamy Udayar launched a Tamil channel called GEC (Golden Eagle Communication), which was later acquired by Vijay Mallya and renamed as Vijay TV. In Telugu, Telugu daily newspaper Eenadu started with its own channel called ETV in 1995 later diversified into other Indian languages. The same year, another Telugu channel called Gemini TV was launched which was later acquired by the Sun Group in 1998.
Throughout the 90's, along with a multitude of Hindi-language channels, several regional and English language channels flourished all over India. By 2001, international channels HBO and History Channel started providing service. In 1999–2003, other international channels such as Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, VH1, Disney and Toon Disney entered the market. Starting in 2003, there has been an explosion of news channels in various languages; the most notable among them are NDTV, CNN IBN and Aaj Tak. The most recent channels/networks in the Indian broadcasting industry include UTV Movies, UTV Bindass, Zoom, Colours, 9X and 9XM. There are several more new channels in the pipeline, including Leader TV.
Conditional Access System
CAS or conditional access system, is a digital mode of transmitting TV channels through a set-top box (STB). The transmission signals are encrypted and viewers need to buy 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 furore over charge hikes by channels and subsequently by cable operators. Poor reception of certain channels; arbitrary pricing and increase in prices; bundling of channels; poor service delivery by Cable Television Operators (CTOs); monopolies in each area; lack of regulatory framework and redress avenues were some of the issues that were to be addressed by implementation of CAS
It was decided by the government that CAS would be first introduced in the four metros. It has been in place in Chennai since September 2003, where until very recently it had managed to attract very few subscribers. It has been rolled out recently in the other three metros of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
As of April 2008[update] only 25 per cent of the people have subscribed the new technology. The rest watch only free-to-air channels. As mentioned above, the inhibiting factor from the viewer's perspective is the cost of the STB.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued a notification on 11 November 2011, setting 31 March 2015 as the deadline for complete shift from analog to digital systems. In December 2011, Parliament passed The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Act to digitize the cable television sector by 2014. Digitization, on cable and terrestrial, will be carried out in four phases, in a 3-year transition starting from 31 October 2012, and finishing on 31 March 2015. The four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai have to shift to digital addressability by 31 October 2012. The second phase will include 38 cities in 15 states, such as Patna, Chandigarh, Pune and Bangalore by 31 March 2013. All urban areas are expected to digitize by 30 November 2014 and the remaining areas by 31 March 2015.
|City/Region||Date of switchover†|
(31 October 2012)
|Delhi||31 October 2012|
|Kolkata||15 January 2013|
|Mumbai||31 October 2012|
(31 March 2013)
|38 cities in 15 states||31 March 2013|
(30 September 2014)
|All remaining urban areas|
(31 December 2014)
|Rest of India|
†Indicates the date when analogue signals were switched off and not necessarily the date when 100% digitization was achieved.
From midnight on 31 October 2012, analogue signals were switched off in Delhi and Mumbai. Pirated signals were available in parts of Delhi even after the date. In Kolkata, on 30 October 2012, the state government refused to switch off analogue signals citing low penetration of set-top boxes (STBs) required for receiving digital signals. The I&B Ministry did not push for switching off of analogue signals in Kolkata. After approximately the Centre estimated that 75% of Kolkata households had installed STBs, the ministry issued a directive to stop airing analogue channels in some parts of the city beginning December 16 and completely switch off analogue signals after December 27. On 17 December 2012, the West Bengal government openly defied the directive and stated that it would not implement it. The state government then announced that it would extend the deadline to 15 January 2013. The I&B ministry had initially threatened to cancel the license of multi system operators (MSOs) in Kolkata if they did not switch off all analog channels. However, the ministries softened their stand following a letter from MSOs, explaining how it they were sandwiched between divergent orders from the Central and State Governments.
In Chennai, the deadline was extended twice to November 5 by the Madras High Court. The extension was in response to a petition filed by the Chennai Metro Cable TV Operators Association (CMCOA), who argued that only 1.64 lakh homes in Chennai had set top boxes and more than 30 lakh homes would go blank from the deadline. CMCOA wrote to the I&B ministry informing them that the Union Government’s claim of 69% of TV households having set-top boxes in Chennai was incorrect and that only 1.1 million out of 4 million households were digitized. On November 5, the Madras High Court further extended the deadline to November 9. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting stated that it would allow extension till December 31, if the state government was willing to stick the deadline. As of April 2013, Chennai achieved 61% digitization.
In the second phase, 38 cities in 15 states had to digitize by 31 March 2013. Of the 38, Maharashtra has 9 cities, Uttar Pradesh has 7 and Gujarat has 5. The schedule for switching off genre-wise channels was:
- Cut-off English movie channels with effect from March 10, from 11 PM pm onward
- Cut-off Hindi/respective Regional movie channels with effect from March 15, from 11 PM onward
- Cut-off news (English, Hindi, respective Regional and Business) channels with effect from March 18, from 11 PM onward
- Cut-off Hindi/respective Regional GECs with effect from March 22, from 11 PM onward.
About 25% of the 1.6 crore households covered missed the deadline of switching over to digitised cable television. Speaking to Indiantelevision.com, I&B ministry Secretary Uday Kumar Varma said that analogue signals had been switched off in 33 of the 38 towns at the stroke of midnight of March 31. Varma said that the deadline had not been revised, but a "transition time" of about 10–15 days had been given. As of 3 April 2013, 25% of the selected households had not installed STBs according to I&B ministry's estimates. Enforcement of the switchover varied from city to city. The ministry stated that till April 1, Ludhiana, Hyderabad, Faridabad, Allahabad, Amritsar, Chandigarh and Jodhpur reported 100% digitisation. Thane, Meerut and Jaipur reported figures of over 90%. Ghaziabad, Aurangabad, Nashik, Pune, Sholapur crossed 80%. Ranchi, Varanasi, Kanpur, Bangalore and Indore crossed 70% and Vadodra, Lucknow, Nagpur and Bhopal reported figures above 60%. Agra, Navi Mumbai, Howrah, Surat, Mysore and Ahmedabad had crossed the 50% while Patna, Pimpri Chinchwad and Rajkot were just below 50%. Vishakhapatnam reported the minimum figures of 12.18%. Other cities that cities that had low figures included Srinagar (20 per cent), Coimbatore (28.89 per cent), Jabalpur (34.87 per cent) and Kalyan Dombivli (38.59 per cent).
Four cities in Gujarat - Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat, Vadodra - and Bangalore got an extension of the digitisation date, as there was a stay by the Gujarat and Karnataka High Courts.
As of 2012, over 823 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, Zee TV, Sun Network and Asianet. Direct To Home service is provided by Airtel Digital Tv, BIG TV owned by Reliance, DD Direct Plus, DishTV, Sun Direct DTH, Tata Sky and Videocon D2H. DishTV was the first one to come up in Indian Market, others came only years later.
These services are provided by locally built satellites from ISRO such as INSAT 4CR, INSAT 4A, INSAT-2E, INSAT-3C and INSAT-3E as well as private satellites such as the Dutch-based SES, Global-owned NSS 6, Thaicom-2 and Telstar 10.
DTH is defined as the reception of satellite programmes with a personal dish in an individual home. As of december 2012, India had roughly 54.52 million DTH subcribers.
Cable TV is through cable networks and DTH is wireless, reaching direct to the consumer through a small dish and a set-top box. Although the government has ensured that free-to-air channels on cable are delivered to the consumer without a set-top box, DTH signals cannot be received without the set-top box.
India currently has 7 major DTH service providers and a total of over 54.52 million subscriber households in as of december 2012. DishTV(a ZEE TV subsidiary), Tata Sky, Videocon D2H, Sun Network owned ' Sun Direct DTH', Reliance Digital TV, Bharti Airtel's DTH Service 'Airtel Digital TV' and the public sector DD Direct Plus. As of 2012, India has the most competitive Direct-broadcast satellite market with 7 operators vying for more than 135 million TV homes. India is set to overtake the USA as the world's largest Direct-broadcast satellite market by 2012.
The rapid growth of DTH in India has propelled an exodus from cabled homes, the need to measure viewership in this space is more than ever; aMap, the overnight ratings agency, has mounted a peoplemeter panel to measure viewership and interactive engagement in DTH homes in India.
Internet Protocol Television (IPTV)
There are currently five IPTV Platforms available for Subscription in India in the main cities as Broadband Internet penetration is confined to urban areas of the country, They are
- IPTV A joint venture between MTNL and BSNL also in association with Aksh Optifiber a company that also provides FTTH and VoIP services available in some of the main cities in India such as Mumbai which has about 200 Television Channels on offer with Time Shift TV in a number of Basic and Premium Packages including Movies On Demand offered at various Basic, Premium and Pay Per View Rates and other services such as an Interactive Karaoke channel, The IPTV Operator uses the UTStarcom RollingStream IPTV Solution as its end-to-end Delivery Platform.
- Airtel IPTV available in some of the main cities in India such as New Delhi and Bangalore which has about 175 Television Channels on offer with Time Shift TV in a number of TV Packages and a small number of Television Channels offered on Premium Subscription Rates including Movies On Demand offered at Premium and Pay Per View Rates SVOD and other services such as Digital Radio and Games, The IPTV Operator uses the UTStarcom RollingStream IPTV Solution as its end-to-end Delivery Platform.
- Smart TV Group also Operates an IPTV Platform based on the Sea-Change International IPTV and Cisco IPTV Standards in many parts of India with the following services:
The service is available to MTNL and BSNL Broadband Internet customers.
- Reliance IPTV is an IPTV service Operated by Reliance Communication the Telco uses the Microsoft Mediaroom IPTV Middleware Software as its end-to-end delivery Platform, with around three TV packages on offer. the service is currently only available in Mumbai.
Television Metrics in India have gone through several phases in which it fragmented, consolidated and then fragmented again.
During the days of the single channel Doordarshan monopoly, DART (Doordarshan Audience Research Team) was the only metric available. This used the notebook method of recordkeeping across 33 cities across India. DART continues to provide this information independent of the Private agencies. DART till this date is the only rating system that still measures audience metrics in Rural India.
TAM & INTAM
In 1994, claiming a heterogeneous and fragmenting television market ORG-MARG introduced INTAM (Indian National Television Audience Measurement). Ex-officials of DD (Doordarshan) claimed that INTAM was introduced by vested commercial interests who only sought to break the monopoly of DD and that INTAM was significantly weaker in both sample size, rigour and the range of cities and regions covered.
In 1997, a joint industry body appointed TAM (backed by AC Nielsen) as the official recordkeeper of audience metrics. Due to the differences in methodology and samples of TAM and INTAM, both provided differing results for the same programs.
In 2001, a confidential list of households in Mumbai that were participating in the monitoring survey was released, calling into question the reliability of the data. This subsequently led to the merger of the two measurement systems into TAM. For several years after this, in spite of misgivings about the process, sample and other parameters, TAM was the defacto standard and monopoly in the audience metrics game.
In 2004, a rival ratings service funded by American NRI investors, called Audience Measurement Analytics Limited (aMap) was launched. Although initially, it faced a cautious uptake from clients, the TAM monopoly was broken.
Broadcast Audience Research Council
An even newer industry body called the Broadcast Audience Research Council seeks to set up an almost real-time audience metrics system. Plans for this was announced in March 2008 and work is said to be in progress.
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