Booming: Indian Television News Channels

News programs are now a hot commodity and compete for viewers with popular shows telecast on different channels. Every major broadcaster has at least one news channel. Programming software that can be used round-the-clock is the biggest problem when launching a satellite channel. This is why newsgathering for 24-hour news channels is so important. The new electronic channels are attempting to fulfill this task by covering all incidents, regardless of their location, time, and place. These channels have not only changed the way Indian television broadcasts news, but also the format of the news. Doordarshan, which had the Indian newscast monopoly before 1990s turned news programming into a dowdy business. The news is now an essential commodity, just like food, shelter, and cloth. Today’s news bulletins are notable for their objectivity, topicality, glossy editing, and high-quality visuals. News has come a long way since the DD era. Every event is covered by news. This article will discuss some important changes in Indian news broadcasting since the Gulf War.

Indian Television – Flash Back

The current liberalized television environment in India has seen significant changes to Indian television. These changes can be understood by having a brief overview of the journey taken by television channels. It began as an experiment with a grant from UNESCO on 15 September 1959. The experiment was conducted in a makeshift studio at Akashvani Bhavan, New Delhi. The experiment began with a one-hour program that was broadcast twice per week. It covered topics such as community health, citizen rights and education, traffic sense, and traffic sense. It was launched six years after the beginning of television broadcasting. Indian viewers were served a daily one-hour program that included a news bulletin. One major problem with television was the inability to see the original colours of objects due to black and white transmission. The Prime Minister addressed the nation on India’s 35th Independence Day from Red Fort, Delhi. This was the first multi-color program. The DD National channel was also launched that day. Launching the National channel was intended to foster national integration and instill pride in Indians. Indian viewers enjoyed the colored version hosted by New Delhi at their drawing room. Television signals have been infiltrated to every corner of the subcontinent through the coverage of important events and other occasions. The Indian Government had taken every step to increase television broadcasting geographically and demographically. Television signals were only available to 28% of the population in 1983. By 1985, that number had increased to over 90%. To provide exclusive entertainment for urban viewers, DD Metro was created in 1984. This channel was initially restricted to major cities.
Doordarshan, a public broadcaster presented the news in a naturalized way. All controversial topics were covered. Television broadcasting was tightly controlled by the ruling government. The national news bulletins of Doordarshan were not able to deliver the international news to their viewers. As news was manipulated to favor the ruling party, objectivity had been the first victim. The news was freed from the DD newsroom in 1988 and gained objectivity and credibility with the New Delhi Television (NDTV). Everybody was eagerly awaiting Friday night’s telecast of ‘The World This Week. This was the only India-based program that looked at the rest of world. The World This Week had the best international news programme and was a great source of information. It also covered important news that the regular DD News was unable to provide. This program is considered one of the most popular and best-loved television programs in India. NDTV produced India’s first live televised coverage in 1989 of the country’s general election. This coverage was a huge success in terms of commercial and critical success, setting a new standard for Indian television. The media landscape has changed dramatically since the Gulf War.

Golf War – The Catalyst

Satellite television in India after 1990 has been transnational. This was due to the entry of multinational corporations into Indian markets as a result of the Government’s privatization policy. CNN’s coverage of the Gulf War in 1990 led to international satellite television being introduced in India. Richard Li launched Star Plus in August 1991. This was the first satellite channel to beam the signal to the Indian subcontinent. Subhash Chandra launched Zee TV in October 1992. This is India’s first Hindi channel that is privately owned. The channel was followed shortly by Sony, and then later domestic channels like Eenadu and Asianet. Advertising had become the main source of funding and entertainment programs were taking center stage in the organization’s programming strategies. Doordarshan’s original mandate to support economic and social development has been clearly diluted. Doordarshan was facing stiff competition from international channels such as CNN and BBC in news and public affairs programming. Doordarshan was planning to sell slots for news programmes under the sponsored category. NDTV is the first country-based producer of national news ‘News Tonight. It aired on Doordarshan’s government-owned channel. This was a landmark in Indian television. TV Today Network occupied a slot of 20 minutes on the DD Metro channel. It aired a Hindi-language and current affairs program called ‘Aaj Tak’. The unique presentation style of Late S. P. Singh made this programme popular. We still remember the sign-up message, “Ye Thi Khabar Aaj Tak Intizar.” Kijiye Kal Tak”. Aaj Tak has been viewed by many Indian viewers as a daily habit due to its unique style of news presentation. A five-minute fast-paced, condensed daily news bulletin Ankhon Dekhi was also aired by Nalini Singh on TV Today Network. Metro Channel of Doordarshan also aired Newstrack and Business Aaj Tak. This was the time when satellite channels mainly focused on entertainment programs for their channels. Doordarshan remained the most sought-after area of ‘news’.