Raushni Bhagia and Prachi Srivastava

Presentation: afaqs! TV Special

The last couple of years have seen much action in the television broadcasting business in India. An exhaustive report on what is happening!

Years 2012 and 2013 (till October) have seen lots of developments in the Indian television broadcasting industry. Digitisation, a strict ad cap, content guidelines, consolidation and newer technology have kept TV broadcasters on their toes.

There was an array of new channels, show launches in Hindi, English GECs and movies, during the period. The emerging trends were - narrowing gap between Hindi movies' theatrical release and television premieres, and reduction in time lag between American shows' US and India telecasts.

It was a mixed bag for the music and youth entertainment genre. A few new music channels came up, but a prominent one like Channel V dropped all its music content. The kids' genre, meanwhile, was the most active as it started targeting increasingly younger children.

Infotainment is an expensive genre to be in and that probably is the reason why there were no new channel launches in the space. One of the major developments in the genre has been localisation of content.

The news genre had a tough time tackling with the various industry regulations including 10 +2 minutes ad cap, which if implemented will result in 15-20 per cent revenue drop.

With badminton, boxing, football, motor racing and other sports lighting up TV screens, sports broadcasting in India is inclined to change.

Below is an exhaustive report on what is happening!

A Note From the Editor

Going by all the action in the past year or so you wouldn't believe that television is a mature business that has been around for a long time. Indian television has been going through the pangs of digitisation. It has been in a ferment about television ratings which have been affected by the inclusion of small-town India. And now it is trying to fathom what the coming capping of advertising time will mean to their balance sheets. The year 2013 has also seen a scrap between broadcasters and agencies (backed by advertisers) on the nature of billing (gross vs net) and yet another skirmish on the way television viewership is presented.

All of this action has also affected programming and what people watch in a big way. Digitisation has encouraged the launch of many specialised channels – for example, four new channels have been launched in English alone because viewership in the genre has jumped dramatically. That is because digitisation has given viewers greater power to view and then choose from what fare is available.

Infotainment channels too have received a leg up because of digitisation. There has been a concerted push to have more local content even as the channels are providing feeds in several regional languages.

The same expansion of content was visible in kids' channels too where four more joined the game. Who could have thought some years ago that there would be sharp segmenting even within this genre? However, even as choice has grown, the little viewers began to spend more time on only a small number of programmes – basically going deeper than wider.

Then again, the inclusion of towns with a population of less than one lakh to calculate viewership ratings did not affect some of the big general entertainment channels but hit Sony where it hurt. Life has its compensations. Stablemate Sab TV gained from the wider coverage of rating meters.

News channels, which are expected to suffer the most following the coming of the ad time limitation, are naturally in a state of shock. The bulk of them have been losing money – and the coming of an ad cap may make the business unsustainable for several. The jury is still out on the issue.

All in all, there has been a lot of action and we hope that the TV Special has captured that well.


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