Booming: Television News Channels in India

News programmes have suddenly become hot property and are vying for attention alongside other popular programmes telecast in diverse channels. Every major broadcaster is adding at minimum one news channel to their offerings. The most difficult part of the launch of a satellite channel is to program software that operates all hours of the day. Newsgathering is a major task for the 24 hour news channels. In order to accomplish this, the emerging digital channels have made an attempt to keep track of all events regardless of the location, location and even time.

These channels have not only revolutionized the idea of news on Indian television, but also altered the format of news. Before the 1990s Doordarshan had held the newscast monopoly on Indian television, and had also transformed the news programming into a boring exercise. Today, the private channels have transformed news into a vital commodity like cloth, food and shelter. Visit:-

The most appealing feature of today’s news bulletins is their relevance, objectivity, high-quality editing, and stunning visuals. News has traveled a long way from the DD era. From Local events to International events breaking news to news analysis, TV soap to news page3, every happening comes under purview of news. In this article, we have covered some significant changes in the broadcasting of news in India in the years prior to and after in the aftermath of Gulf War.

Indian Television – Flash Back

Television in India is going through significant changes in the current open-minded environment. To understand these changes it is necessary to be aware of the journey taken by television channels so far. The first step was an experiment using a financial grant from UNESCO on September 15th, 1959. The studio that was erected as a temporary structure at Akashvani Bhavan New Delhi was chosen for the location of the study. The pilot program began with a one-hour program that was broadcast twice per week, focusing on community health, citizen rights, education and traffic sense etc. When it comes to news involved, it began exactly six years following the introduction of television broadcasting. Daily one-hour program with a news bulletin was served to the Indian viewers. However, one of the biggest drawbacks of TV was that you couldn’t see the true color of the objects due to of black as well as white transmission. The first multi-color program was the Prime Minister’s speech to the people of India from Red Fort in Delhi on the 35th anniversary of India’s Independence Day. The same day, DD National channel was launched. The purpose of launching the National channel is nurturing national integration, and inculcating the sense of pride that is innate to Indians. Indian viewers also enjoyed the animated version of Asian Games hosted by New Delhi in their drawing room. The coverage of major events as well as other occasions lend a significant hand behind the infiltration of television signals to regions and corners of the subcontinent. Indian Government took every step to increase the broadcasting of television both demographically and geographically. Television signals in 1983 were available to just 28 percent of the population. which had increased to 38% towards the end of 1985 and by 1990 over 90% of the population was able to access to television signals. In 1984, the DD Metro channel was added to provide an exclusive entertainment channel for urban viewers. The initial launch of this channel was only available to cities that were metropolitan.
A public broadcaster, Doordarshan broadcast news in a naturalized way. Every controversial issue was swept under the rug. The government in power held a firm grip on the television broadcasting. Doordarshan news bulletins were unable to broadcast international news to the national viewers. Objectivity had been the first loss as news was often altered to match the ruling party. The news was liberated from the confines of the DD newsroom and gained credibility and objectivity after New Delhi Television (NDTV) created ‘The World This Week’ in 1988. Everyone was eagerly anticipating the Friday night when they could watch “The World This week”. This was the only India-based programme, which looked out towards the rest of world. World This Week World This Week was the best current affairs programme on the international scenario and carried great news, that regular DD news failed to do. This program is ranked as one of the best and most watched TV shows. In 1989, NDTV creates India’s initial live television coverage of India’s general elections. The critical and commercial success of the coverage sets an entirely new standard in Indian television. After Gulf War, the Gulf War the media panorama changed completely.

Golf War – The Catalyst

Satellite television after 1990 in India has changed into transnational. This coincided with the arrival of multinational companies in the Indian markets under the Government policy of privatization. International satellite TV was introduced into India by CNN by way of its broadcasts of Gulf War in 1991. In August 1991, Richard Li launched Star Plus which was the very first satellite station that that broadcast the signal to the Indian subcontinent. The channel of Subhash Chandra’s Zee TV appeared in October 1992. It is the first privately owned Hindi channel to cater the demands of Indian viewers. This ignition followed by Sony and then by the local channels like Eenadu, Asianet and Sun TV. Entertainment programming had begun to take center stage in the organization’s plans for programming and advertising was beginning to be main source of funds. The earlier mission of Doordarshan to assist in the process of social and economic growth had been clearly diminished. Doordarshan was in the midst of a fierce opposition in its news and public affairs programming with international channels such as BBC and CNN. Doordarshan had planned to offer slots to news programming under a sponsored categories. In February 1995, NDTV was the very first private producer of national news ‘News Tonight’, which is telecast on the country’s government-owned Doordarshan created a new benchmark for Indian television thanks to its instant reporting coupled with relevant visuals. The identical year TV Today Network occupied an hour-long slot on the DD Metro channel and aired the Hindi as well as a current-events program ‘Aaj Tak’. The program gained popularity due to its comprehensive coverage and unique style of presentation presented by late S. P. Singh. But we still have the sign-up message “Ye Thi Khabar Aaj Tak, Intizar. Kijiye Kal Tak”. Many viewers across India were watching Aaj Tak as a daily routine due to its unique style of news broadcast. Besides that Nalini Singh’s five minute fast-paced daily news capsule Ankhon Dekhi, the TV Today’s Business Aaj Tak and Newstrack was shown via the Metro channel of Doordarshan. This is the period when satellite channels focused on entertainment programmes for their respective channels. Doordarshan was in the forefront of by the most sought-after area called ‘news’.

Major Players

The monopoly of Doordarshan was broken in 1992, as private television channels infiltrated into the Indian boundaries and entertained the viewers in the most entertaining way. At the beginning of the 1990s, private channels aired only entertainment programs. The entertainment shows include comedy, family dramas animated children’s shows movies, talk show recipes musical concerts as well as non-fiction programming. Private entertainment channels have added entertainment programming on their Fixed Point Charts (FPC). Keeping the demand of infotainment programmes in mind, the media houses started to create publications for entertainment and news as well as news programmes for various channels. India’s most prestigious business and consumer news broadcaster and a leading media content provider, Television Eighteen India Limited (TV18) created India’s first entertainment magazine ‘The India Show which was aired on Star Plus in 1993. This media powerhouse was able to provide prime-time television programming for almost all major broadcasting satellites that operate in India comprising BBC, Star Plus, Sony Entertainment Television, Zee, MTV and Discovery. After The India Show, TV18 produced a weekly business news program called India Business Report for BBC World. Indian viewers had very few options (like television stations that broadcast public services like Doordarshan, BBC and CNN) to watch the TV news. For news broadcasts on telecast, viewers could only watch Dordarshan as well as some international news channels such as BBC as well as CNN. In the race to offer more news, more information, Zee Television jumped into the arena by launching its news channel Zee News in 1995. The News news channel and the daily affairs channel changed the way that news was presented to the public. Since its start, Zee News has endeavoured to be the fastest to provide information, aiming for the same goal: Sabse Pahle (Always First). The other round-the-clock news channel that is owned by Murdoch Star TV beamed its exclusively 24/7 news channels, Star News in 1998. Star signed a deal of five year with Prannoy Roy’s NDTV (New Delhi Television Co.) to provide news content for this news channel.