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 slanted in favor of the ruling party, objectivity was the first to be lost. 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 in 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 to 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 some slots in the sponsored news program. 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 aired a Hindi-language and current affairs program called ‘Aaj Tak’ in the same time slot on DD Metro channel. 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’.

Major Players

Doordarshan’s monopoly on television was ended in 1992 when Indian private channels invaded Indian borders to entertain viewers. The private channels were limited to entertainment programming at the start of the 1990s. Entertainment programs include comedy serials, family drama, children programmes and cartoons. Talk shows, recipe shows, music concerts, non-fiction programmes, and movies are all included. Private entertainment channels have added infortainment programs to their Fixed Point Charts. The demand for infotainment programs was in mind when media houses began to produce entertainment magazines, news magazines, and news programmes for different channels. Television Eighteen India Limited (TV18), India’s leading business and consumer news broadcaster, launched India’s first entertainment magazine, ‘The India Show’, on Star Plus in 1993. This media powerhouse was able to provide prime-time television content to nearly all Indian satellite channels, including Star Plus, Sony Entertainment Television and Zee. TV18 also produced the weekly India Business Report, a business news program for BBC World. Indian viewers only had a few options for viewing the television news, such as Doordarshan’s public broadcaster and BBC. To view televised news, viewers needed to watch Dordarshan or other international news channels such as BBC and CNN. Zee Television launched Zee News, a news channel, in 1995, to offer more news and more information. Zee News, a news channel that also covers current affairs, revolutionized how news was delivered to viewers. Zee News was founded in 1998 and has strived to be the fastest news channel, achieving one goal: Sabse Pahle (Always First). Star News, a Murdoch-owned news channel, was the other 24-hour news channel. It was broadcast in 1998. Star signed a five-year contract with Prannoy Roy, the owner of NDTV (New Delhi Television Company), to provide news content.
The relentless and exhaustive coverage of Kargil war between India & Pakistan attracted more attention and more viewers to the electronic channel. This wartime conflict was also televised and set a new standard for wartime journalism. Common citizens were able to see how brave Jawans fought in hostile conditions during the Kargil war. They also watched the war front live on the exclusive news channels Star-TV, Zee-News, and Zee-News. Live coverage of the battlefield created a sense of pride among Indian citizens, which eventually led to the collection of huge amounts of money for the welfare of the loved ones of Kargil martyrs. Each news program attracts a large audience, but the Kargil war draws private broadcasters to invest more in broadcasting by creating a news channel. CNBC Asia and TV18 formed a 49:51 joint venture in November 1999 to launch CNBC India. CNBC India’s sole provider of programming, TV18 produces 12 hours per day local content on the 24-hour satellite channel.
TV Today group launched Aaj Tak, a Hindi 24-hour news channel, following the enormous success of the news program. It was launched in December 2000. This news channel, which has the same name as Aaj Tak, covers India with intelligence, courage, and lots of local flavour. Aaj Tak became India’s top news channel within 11 months. It was also awarded the Indian Television Academy Awards Best News Channel award. Apart from regular news items, some mega events (such as Kandhahar hijack and September 11 attacks, attack on Parliament, Afghanistan war, Godhra massacre and riots), have pushed up the viewership. NDTV’s contract for five years with Star group to outsource news and related programming ended on March 2003. NDTV launched two 24-hour news channels simultaneously, NDTV India – Hindi news channel and NDTV 24X7 – English news channel. These news channels target the Indian diaspora around the globe. News-crazy Indians were able to receive more information at a faster pace from various channels. Television cameras can capture any unusual event, from Rastrapati Bhawan’s bedroom to the highest point of the building. Operation West End, Shakti Kapoor Case and other major sting operations have made the power of TV journalism more evident. This type of investigative journalism has influenced the way we view news and introduced new ideas of editorial freedom. Sahara Samay, the 24-hour Hindi news channel launched by the world’s largest family, ‘Sahara India Parivar’, on March 28, 2003. It is the first city-centric satellite news channel covering 31 Indian cities with their own city bulletins. In keeping with the demand for news, the Union cabinet approved a proposal to convert DD Metro into DD news at a meeting that took place on 3 October 2003. DD-News was launched on the 3rd of November 2003 as a result of these decisions. The news channels are not available in all languages. The news channel of DD includes the 24-hour news bulletins in Hindi and English. These news bulletins are also telecast twice a days on the National Network at DD National.
Rajat Sharma of ‘Aap Ki Adalat” fame, Sohaib Illyasi (the man behind the highly successful “India’s Most Wanted”) and Taun Tejpal, editor in chief of Tehelka, teamed up and launched India TV, a Hindi news channel and current affairs channel. It was free to air on May 20, 2004. This channel was highly anticipated by Indian viewers. This much-anticipated news channel hopes to stand out from other channels by setting new standards for responsible journalism. Rajat Sharma, Chairman, India TV said that the launch would bring about a change in broadcast news reporting in India. India TV will continue to set international standards for responsible and credible news reporting by maintaining them. We will not allow the sensationalism and graphic portrayals of violence to be used in our news reporting. We will respect the right of the viewer to accurate information as well as their right to truthfulness and veracity. India TV is more than a news channel. It is a movement. NDTV Profit, a pioneer in Indian TV news, is set to make a new revolution in business news by launching NDTV Profit. This 24-hour channel was launched by NDTV on January 17, 2005.
There is no point at which news channels are saturated. The sky is the limit. Entertainment channel to infotainment channels, infotainment to news channel news channels, news channels to business channel news channel and many more. Satellite channels are now more current and meet international standards. CNBC TV18 is still the most popular news channel in India. It has been the sole business channel since 1999. The launch of a 24-hour Hindi consumer channel called “Awaaz” has set the standard for television channel growth. This news channel empowers consumers to make informed decisions about saving, investing and spending. The programmes cater to people from all walks of life. They include personal finance, stock, savings, and a variety of markets such as commodity, stocks, and other investments. ; small businesses; education and career guidance; verticals such as health, shopping, etc.
A new news channel was launched in the already saturated news space on Indian TV. Jagran TV Pvt Limited’s news channel Channel 7 was up-linked on the 27th March 2005. This channel was created to reach the large Hindi-speaking audience, which is already being covered by many news channels. Channel 7 designed every program with the goal of catering to all audiences, not just men who are attracted to news channels.

Regional Leaders

Doordarshan broadcasts Hindi programmes and other official languages to cater for the Indian audience. It launched a number Regional Language Satellite Channels (DD – 4 to DD – 11 and DD – 13), and telecast programmes into Assamese and Bengali. All terrestrial transmitters within the state relay the Regional channels, as well as additional programs in the Regional Language that are only available through cable operators. Doordarshan’s regional satellite channels broadcast major news programmes with some entertainment programs.
Private regional channels have followed the footsteps of the Big brother Doordarshan. They are not a news channel or an entertainment channel. They claim to be an infotainment channel and are not following the news channels. Private channels broadcast through the state’s dominant languages. Many big players have entered the market due to rising advertising revenues and growing numbers of viewers. ETV, Sun TV and Asianet are some of the major regional media players. Some of the biggest players tried their luck in various states. Zee Marathi has Zee Punjabi, Zee Bangla and Zee Marathi are three of the regional channels on Zee TV. Star Network launched Star Vijay in Tamilnadu, making it one of India’s most popular entertainment channels. ETV Network, which is part of Ramoji Group, has 12 regional infotainment channels. ETV Network is the source for rich entertainment in eight languages. These languages include Telugu and Bangla, Marathi and Kannada, Oriya and Gujarati, as well as Hindi for viewers in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, Bihar, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh. Each channel of ETV Network focuses solely on the unique cultural identity and aspirations of its viewers. Consider the south Indian language Telugu. There are twelve satellite channels that roam the skies with different tastes and flavours. There are three news channels, one music-based channel and the rest are informationtainment channels. Three channels (ETV2, TV 9 or Teja News) are exclusively dedicated to news programs.
Sahara India Pariwar is proud that five news channels are part of the bouquet of Sahara Samay. These channels are: Sahara Samay NCR, Sahara Samay Mumbai, Sahara Samay Bihar & Jharkhand, Sahara Samay Madhya Pradesh & Chattisgarh, and Sahara Samay Uttar Pradesh & Uttranchal. Sahara Samay in India has gained a loyal following through a variety of National & Regional News Channels. These channels are young and lively channels that target students and women. They also provide hardcore news. Regional news channels cover all aspects of the genre, including lifestyle, fashion and food, shopping and health, fitness, education, and career issues. They also provide user-friendly information about traffic updates, events in cities, train and air times, and other useful information. National news channels can no longer limit their coverage to the national level. Because of stiff competition from regional cannels, they cannot ignore regional news. Regional news channels are entering the market with a strong willpower and an ambition to portray regional issues at national and international levels.