Philip Tracadas

A Brief History of Indian Television

India has a long heritage of film production, primarily because it was the main medium of communication to the disparate cultures and communities of India's subcontinent. Television's introduction into India in the late 1950's had little effect because not many receivers were available. Both the influence of film viewing and the dearth of receivers forced a standard of communal TV viewing (which remains somewhat evident today). The small number of programming hours were dedicated to education. The future of television was seen by the `60s government as a tool by which the peoples of India could be integrated and the new methods of birth control and agriculture could be taught. This paradigm led to a satellite communications program (SITE) that beamed TV to the rural areas of the country for educational purposes in 1975.

Soon after the SITE program, the government TV channel called Doordarshan (DD) was setup. It had a monopoly on broadcasting and programmed educational shows with a heavy Hindi-centric flavor. With pressure from the more affluent classes that owned TVs, DD changed to entertainment programming, including commercial sponsorship, which came to rely heavily on feature films.

The ASIAD games of 1982 spurred further growth in DD's ground network and broadcast hours were increased. Now, television was seen by the `80s government as a crown jewel, something to show-off to the world and to exploit for propaganda at home. The need for programming led to rehashed American and Mexican serials and megaserials directed by film directors. Television, while it had apparently further damaged the viability of New Cinema films at the box office, now offered a showcase for those films and directors that had been unable to obtain commercial release and exposure. (Binford, pg. 91)

Meanwhile, videocassette tape spread like wildfire in the early '80s. On one hand the main product was pirated films but on the other, video allowed regional cinemas to be seen and regional communication to be heard, a need which was ignored by DD. Video and the numerous video theaters also seem to have narrowed the information gap between classes and genders by showing a wide variety of product to anyone for cheaper than a movie.

Currently, India's satellite market is being surrounded by a world-wide contingent of media sellers which promise to show more international and indigenous product. The late '80s and '90s have seen the increase in satellite receivers that funnel programming to small cable clusters. Satellite viewing only reaches 20% of the population compared to DD's monopoly share of 80%; thus, American, private Indian, and other Asian firms are ready to pounce with satellite content as soon as cable networks become widely controllable.

India's Introduction to Television

Television in India begins in the late 1950's with a story that develops similar to an overgrown hobby rather than a commercial venture. In 1955, Philips and RCA corporations setup a closed-circuit TV system at a New Delhi industrial exhibition and after the show, gifted the equipment to the government. All India Radio (AIR) put the pieces together into the country's first TV center using this reconditioned equipment and a few additional gifted cameras and began broadcasting in September of 1959. (Ninan, pg. 18, Pendakur, pg. 237) India until that time, had not seen RCA's early `50's invention nor witnessed the euphoria over video recording's invention in 1956. Furthermore, India had no electronics industry which could service these toys or design new models and attachments. But just like a hobby club, AIR's audio engineers became cameramen and radio announcers became presenters, inventing the job descriptions as they went.

Talent and staff, drawn from AIR's ranks, made the first broadcasts from makeshift studios in the top of the Delhi AIR building. The content consisted of one-hour programs on Tuesdays and Fridays which contained improvised skits, variety performances, and foreign documentaries. Nothing could be edited or redubbed unless it was done during the live performance. The knowledge from "playing" with the equipment and "making do" was the important part. Besides, not many people were watching- twenty-one gifted TV sets were installed around Delhi and an additional fifty were installed by UNESCO[1]. Teleclubs were organized which set India's precedent for watched the TV in a large group or communal setting. (Ninan, pg. 19)

Growth of the station and its programs progressed with further gifts of equipment. The electronics industry had not started yet in India, nor was the potential of the TV operation deemed important enough to warrant government funding. In 1961, the Ford Foundation helped to fund the first formal educational telecasts called the Delhi School Project, which covered 250 schools around Delhi. (Ninan, pg. 101) In 1964, Indira Gandhi (wife of Mahatma) joined the ruling party as minister of Information and Broadcasting and pointed the government towards looking seriously at developing television. In 1965, West Germany supplied a complete studio and training facilities to enable expansion of the medium.

The black and white station remained as an arm of AIR until 1976 when a separate government entity called Doordarshan (DD) took over the operation (both AIR's TV and initially DD were directed by the same man). (Ninan, pg. 20) DD started the usage of advertisements on the channel, a move which shifted India's only television producer and broadcaster towards program formats. Looking toward the '80s, DD was formed by the government to harness the influencing potential of TV's access to the nation and to catch up with the television infrastructures of surrounding countries. To start, DD began by building on top of an important satellite and ground based transmitter network which had just been proven in 1975.

Connecting The Subcontinent- The SITE Program

In the late 1960's, India was experiencing food shortages and a rising birthrate. Some feared the population explosion would wipe out all gains resulting from developmental efforts. Urgent action was needed but 80% of the target audience for this message lived in rural areas. (Löhr, pg. 53) With its vast and geographically diverse terrain, India's many rural areas were out of reach of the state governments, press, radio, or films and hence, were not an audience to the policy teachings of family planning and modern agricultural techniques. With great foresight towards creating a structure of communication that could access India's twenty-two states, sixteen regional languages, and over 800 dialects, a Dr. Homi Bhabha and a Dr. Vikram Sarabhai began an active space-based communications research program in 1963. (Chander, pg. 9)

An Experimental Satellite Communications Earth Station was constructed in Ahmedabad (finished in 1967) with the purpose of building and training the necessary technical manpower in India to undertake serious space research. The United Nations Development Program put in half a million dollars and most of the equipment was imported from abroad. But the venture met its goals when, a few years later, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) setup India's first commercial earth station at Arvi (now known as Vikram Earth Station) with a 30 meter antenna and electronics fabricated within India.

Although these earth stations put India on the technological map, the real social issue would be how to use them to educate the country's population in the ideas of nationalism, nutrition, and population control. Separate from the earth stations, Dr. Vikram Sarabhai initiated a project called Krishi Darshan or Agricultural TV. Inaugurated on January 26, 1967, the twice or three times-a-week program displayed new agricultural practices through the only TV station at the time (Delhi's AIR-TV) onto 80 community TV sets specially installed in villages around Delhi. Independent evaluations later showed that actual adoption of new agricultural techniques had taken place and were effective. Interestingly, programmers found it necessary to include entertainment like local folk music, songs related to agriculture, and rural drama to make the program more interesting for the farmers. This "entertainment problem" was thought to be due to Indians' considerable tradition in philosophy, religion, and the arts. (Löhr, pg. 53, 58)

In November of 1966, at the General Conference of UNESCO, the Indian Delegation pressed a project concept to use satellite communication for education and economic development purposes. After much globe trotting to NASA and France, the feasibility of the project was substantiated and India signed a "memorandum of understanding" with the USA. The project, called SITE for Satellite Instructional Television Experiment, would use the earth station at Ahmedabad and one of NASA's new Application Technology Satellites (ATS) to broadcast TV to India.

The SITE program focused many educational, technical, and social science objectives for India and technical satellite issues for the USA. For India, besides demonstrating a satellite-based TV broadcast and related technologies, a general objective was to "stimulate national development in India, with important managerial, economic, technological, and social implications." Under instructional objectives, India cited "the fields of family planning, agriculture, national integration, education, teacher training, etc." (India-U.S. SITE agreement, in Chander, pg. 51) Those hopeful of SITE's benevolent benefits, praised its design to promote social and economic development and to raise the general standard of living. TV as educator for the agricultural good would also teach numerical, language, and technology skills to children as well as a bit of social cohesion in the form of making them aware of modernized life and society. As for social change, the TV would motivate family planning by integrating the message into programs on general health, girls' education, women's participation in public life, and longer schooling.

With SITE, the test for India would not be the uplink or the transmission of the TV signal, but the reception of the programs. TV would not be the instrument of social change and cohesion that Dr. Sarabhai (and later the government) had dreamed of without the actual TV set and antenna sitting in India's villages. Thus, a major part of SITE consisted of planning for the reception of the TV signal using a hybrid system of direct reception and re-diffusion. Direct reception was used in 2,340 of the villages (with or without electricity), meaning the signal was received using a three meter dish directly connected to a TV. The villages selected were located in different linguistic, cultural, climatic, and agricultural regions of the country. (Chander, pg. 11) With over 70% of all villages not electrified at the time, sets were run off of rechargeable car batteries; but many states began power service in these areas due to the TV (Operation Electrify). In the cities, a main dish would receive the signal and re-diffuse it over a VHF air channel to the rest of the deployed TVs (660 sets; 2,400 in all for SITE). The biggest complication seemed to be finding an appropriate public space in each village to house and secure the TV set and which was not over 60 kilometers from a maintenance station. Nevertheless, a degree of "backwardness" and availability of facilities on the ground "so that aspirations or expectations created through TV programs could be satisfied" were selection criterion.

SITE started in May of 1975 with the four hours of access India had to the ATS; programs were distributed in the morning (1.5 hr.) for school children between 5 and 12 and in the evening (2.5 hr.) for adults. For the children, the programs were always broadly educational with subjects such as creative activities, science, hygiene, and geography. During vacations, over 100,000 primary school teachers would use these morning hours for further training. The adult program focused on instructional messages (such as family planning) and national integration through cultural programs, plays, etc. (Chander, pg. 11)

The setup of SITE's "experiment" programming was unique in several ways. TV production was decentralized amongst AIR studios in Cuttack, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kheda, and Ahmedabad and the ISRO studio in Bombay. Each four-hour broadcast day had a combination of special programs designed for each receiver "cluster" (e.g. linguistically distinct area) and a half-hour "common" program in Hindi. The special programs were also broadcast with two audio channels, each in a different language. Many different agencies contributed programming including ISRO and UNICEF. UNICEF sponsored 21 film modules produced by film-maker Shyam Benegal in the area of "cognitive development and non-formal education of rural children between 5 and 8 years of age." (Chander, pg. 49, 35) UNICEF's sponsorship, which fostered interaction between film-makers and folk artists, unexpectedly began the link that continues today between Indian film-makers and TV.

SITE ended in July of 1976, after only a year of operation. It had broadcast in six languages, to six far-flung states, and amassed over 1300 hours of program material. For all its potential, the evaluations of SITE showed disheartening problems endemic of the local governments' inefficiencies. TV as a source of first information and initial excitement was brilliant but the village "change agents" frequently did not see the broadcasts or continue the improvement programs taught. SITE was a substantially successful proof-of-concept for the technology and was continued, with its educational objectives over smaller regions, under Kheda TV until 1990 and Educational TV (ETV) which continues today. (Ninan, pg. 22-24)

The Rise of The VCR

Theories and fieldwork in the area of development communication have shown that decentralized media are more effective in reaching and holding audiences. Studies of other third world radio systems in the Caribbean, Latin America, and Africa have confirmed that what made parts of SITE successful is that audiences react very favorably to media that provide greater local community feedback, interaction, or formative input. (Boyd, pg. 10) The conflict comes from authoritarian governments (typical of the Third World) which have a strong motivation to centralize and control broadcasting of any medium.

India may not be authoritarian in the strict sense but government control of the media is a key issue. In AIR and DD, the government control of content is clear through either guiding what is made or censoring what has been made. Videocassette recorders (VCRs) have had the effect of challenging the prevailing system of government controls on television by bringing de facto media decentralization. What VCR owners choose to watch (and what is most available to them) seems likely to circumvent and frustrate both development programs' intentions to educate them and leaders' desires to control the information content available to them. (Boyd, pg. 11)

With the development of consumer home recording equipment in the late `70s, VCRs began to proliferate around the world by the early `80s. In India, VCR prices (as well as TV prices, usually upwards of US$5,000 in 1981) kept the equipment in the homes of the affluent and upper class. In 1984, when prices had fallen to US$800, 29% of Indian TV homes had a VCR, but less than 1/2 of 1 percent of the population had a VCR. What developed was a substantial system of communal viewing of VCR tapes and TV programs, in some part influenced by the already strong tradition of communal film viewing in India.

Driving the move to video entertainment was the availability of only one broadcast channel during the `80s. With India's cultural and religious diversity, minority and opposition material was not available on DD, nor was a substantial amount of entertainment programming. Video parlors sprung up everywhere, frequently showing pirated material. In rural regions especially, there were two video "mini-theaters" for every film theater, and video cafés which charged small fees to watch video and eat. Surveys showed that the VCR "especially acceptable" as an alternative to film in Indian villages. (Boyd, pg. 104) Video watching was not restricted to businesses either; landlords or other TV owners would open a small room in their houses for public viewing- either as a public service or for a fee. Sharing and renting of VCRs was also common so that despite the low ownership of video equipment, a much higher percentage of people saw video often.

By 1984, video is everywhere in the major centers of India, with over 4 million TVs and half a million VCRs. There are video hotels, video buses, video restaurants, video clubs, and video theaters and halls. Most special events, like weddings and festivals, are taped, if you have the money. Apartments and high-rise buildings offer closed circuit video entertainment for monthly fees. The government even used videocassette in the 1984 elections to distribute supporting speeches by the Prime Minister and the story of the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. But the emphasis remains on providing entertainment material which is unavailable through DD.

Frequently, the entertainment material is pirated or banned content. Pornography is banned in India but is well viewed on video. Piracy of both foreign and domestic film is amazingly quick. The main smuggling path is from Dubai through storage in caves near Bombay. Most of the domestic pirating is through film laboratories and theaters- many producers are said to sleep with the master prints under their mattresses. One producer thought he could beat the pirates for a Friday release of a film by sending the foreign prints to their destinations on Wednesday instead of obeying the normal 15 day overseas period and sending the prints two weeks earlier. The producer learned that pirated cassette copies appeared on the Bombay streets that Thursday night. (Boyd, pg. 119) Due to this pirating efficiency, film viewing in India decreased 50% in the 1980s. Video's ability to provide more varied and explicit content for less money could not be beat.

But some argue that the movies were not hurt as much as was feared because the lower classes, the main patrons of Indian cinema, can not afford home video. The video circuit only mops up the excess demand for Hindi films that cannot be satisfied by the 11,000 theaters. (Boyd, pg. 137) Likewise, piracy is seen as really affecting only the export market for Hindi films, only 26 films were exported in 1984 compared to 200 in 1979. This position seems debatable, especially with today's growing world interest in good prints or cassettes of Hindi film, which piracy can usually not provide.

The effect of video on Indian society has worked against SITE's goal to foster national integration. Video fosters kin- or class-oriented viewing groups that have common social and economic backgrounds. (Boyd, pg. 142) But the availability of content has allowed all classes access to material once unavailable except to the elite. In some respects, video has closed the information gap between men and women too. Women have benefited from the availability of parlors allowing unsupervised TV exposure during the day while the males work.

The effect of video on Indian TV has created enormous opportunity. Advertisers, which began to put ads directly into videocassette programs during the growth of video, are now being courted again by TV. DD (and other recent entry private stations) are trying to simultaneously offer programming that video is not noted for[2] and include advertisements in the scripts and visuals of television (and film). (Boyd, pg. 270) India sent experts to Mexico to learn how to make soap operas (telenovelas), resulting in the series Hum Log which had a partially hidden education content about family planning and other national issues. World champion cricket matches are more concern for DD now than any locally focused content since video tape supplies the later. Contrary to SITE, TV's focus is now how to "entertain and educate" rather than "educate and integrate."

India's New Cinema... On TV

Doordarshan's formation in 1976 was a response not only to the SITE program but also to the world change in TV's importance and the growth of Asian economies during the `70s. Satellites were on the forefront of the TV explosion with their ability to abolish distance and transgress borders. (Sinclair et al, pg. 1-3) These pressures encouraged governments to get something on the air rather than let their citizenry watch the neighboring nation's TV.

In stark contrast to America's model of privately owned commercial TV, which has been in place since the `50s, DD (and before it AIR-TV) are government owned and heavily controlled. Until the mid 1980's, DD had a complete monopoly of India's airwaves. India's first satellite Insat 1-B, built by the Ford Aerospace Corporation for DD, was put into orbit in 1983 and failed after one month, but time was immediately leased on one of the IntelSats. Since then, India has always had a few satellites broadcasting directly to the subcontinent.

The programming of DD changed from AIR's educational focus towards including talk shows, quiz, and current affairs programs and including advertising. It appears that the more affluent audiences pressured the government for more entertainment programming and less "community education." (Pendakur, pg. 238) Then from 1976-77, a state-named National Emergency imposed Draconian media censorship which thwarted the building wave of media liberalization. (Ray and Jacka, pg. 85) It was not until 1982 that the reins began to loosen again.

The New Delhi ASIAD Games[3] of 1982 pushed India to broadcast its best TV signal to the world. A new satellite was launched and color was introduced[4]! A low power transmitter network was also installed that permitted more parts of India to receive the VHF air channel of DD. (Ninan, pg. 26) Growth in the number of TV sets and VCRs continued. Between 1983 and `85, import restrictions were relaxed accounting for an influx of 1 million TVs during this time. Especially popular were flights to Singapore, which became known as "VCR flights" because many would buy their electronics in Singapore and bring them home duty free. By 1988, 27 million TV sets were in the country with a potential viewership of 216 million people or 25% of the total population. (Pendakur, pg. 246)

But the government took no further action in developing or structuring television. Unregulated small-scale cable-television operations mushroomed in cities and towns to provide better-quality signals, as well as to supply popular movies to homes. (Pendakur and Subramanyam, pg. 67) There was no export for DD's TV product because there was nothing diasporic audiences or non-Indian audiences (let alone the home audience) wanted. Most programs broadcast were in Hindi but it is spoken in by only 40% of the population. Programs remained Delhi centric and those that were in other languages had a stigma of being regional, not national. A definite "agenda setting" notion pervaded (and still does) the network programs, telling people not how to think but what to think about. (Ninan, pg. 50)

In 1984, broadcasting hours on DD began to increase again due to the allowance of sponsored programs over its growing national signal access[5]. This time, outside producers were brought in to produce programs that were financed by selling (relatively cheap) ad time to large national and international corporations (i.e. Colgate). The government, ever willing to keep its control, limited producers to thirteen episodes of a program. This limitation had the effect of preventing highly skilled production houses from growing since there was no continuous production base. The limited number of episodes effectively prevented any sort of export industry from starting. (Ray and Jacka, pg. 88) But the immediate influence of ads on programming was to import program formats wholesale from abroad; for instance Dynasty became Khandan. (Lent, pg. 245) The first native TV serial, Hum Log (We People) was successful whereas importing I Love Lucy episodes directly did not work.

Starting in 1985, DD began to court eminent filmmakers to make telefilms in order to tone down criticism that it was becoming too commercialized. Satyajit Ray made Sadgati to start this program and other "parallel" or New Cinema directors followed (Ketan Mehta, Shyam Benegal). The government began offering 800,000 rupees for telecasting any Indian film winning a national award and set up a tiered system of fees for other noteworthy films. The policy quickly became an important source of support for New Cinema directors; plus, the access to 13 million homes was far greater than the small theatrical market that they had been limited to. (Lent, pg. 245-7)

Continuing the art trend, in 1987 a religious epic series called Ramayan glued the nation to their TVs. The story, an ancient Hindu epic, experienced unprecedented popularity and made obvious DD's Hindu nationalist leaning. This megaserial, which ran for 1.5 years, was directed by commercial filmmaker Ramanand Sagar. Mahabharata followed and had a similar effect, even on the political process- the Bharatiya Janata Party of the Hindu Right became very popular after being dormant for decades. (Ray and Jacka, pg. 86)

Foreign Satellite Competition

Unauthorized cable networks have been servicing apartment and office buildings and small localities since 1984. Their incarnation parallels the grasping of the lower classes, which often sets up illegal taps to power lines for their TV sets, to modern technology- Indian society will make do, often with solutions including oxcarts and satellites. At first, these networks were fed by VCRs but by 1991, satellite dishes were broadcasting CNN and BBC over the roughly 3,500 networks. (Ray and Jacka, pg. 88)

The spread of satellite access over these cable networks has been the prime catalyst for growth in the 1990s. At stake are the 250 million upper/middle class viewers which can pay for the service. In 1992, Zee TV (a Bombay-based satellite channel) began operation and continues to have great success through having 50% of the audience during prime time, seven out of the top ten rates shows, and over 70 hours of programming. Although the channel is primarily Hindi, regional productions began in 1994. Also in 1992, Delhi-based PTI-TV began airing Asianet which targeted the Malayalam speaking people of India and the gulf. Rupert Murdoch's STAR TV began broadcasting to India from a base in Hong Kong[6] in 1992. This service consists of five channels (Plus, Prime Sports, Indianized MTV, BBC, and a pay-Movie) but all are in English. (Ray and Jacka, pg. 88-90) By 1994, cable network households received ten to twelve channels.

DD began to fight back by adding its own channels to the mix. DD Metro became successful by 1994 using an entertainment format with current affairs, business programs, and a prime time MTV segment. DDIII appeared in early 1996 and serves as the network backbone for Bombay's Plus Channel among others. The original channel, DDI meanwhile tries to modernize itself and improve regional programming as well as pay attention to production values. It still has a much larger grasp on the nation (80% of households) than satellites (10-20%), in part because no other network in India was allowed either to transmit terrestrially or to provide satellite uplinks from within Indian territory. (Ray and Jacka, pg. 91) Importantly, a recent Indian Supreme Court decision has, in effect, nullified this restriction. (Narang, pg. 45)

Secondary satellite systems, broadcasting to diasporic audiences, are also common. DD International broadcasts to the UK, BSkyB broadcasts Zee TV to Europe, TV Asia broadcasts (even over DSS now) to North America. Pakistan broadcasts to India (although many claim it doesn't have a viewership) while all Indian channels are eyeing Indians displace around the gulf and South Africa.

The hook on satellite viewership is that almost everything is free-to-air. STAR Movies and Zee Cinema are encrypted while everything from Playboy to TNT Movies is in the clear. Most operators are broadcasting clear in a sort of "drug dealer" relationship- their aim is eventually to encrypt but until it is easy for users to obtain set-top boxes and to pay for the service, broadcasters are previewing a smattering of their wares. STAR and Zee encryption succeeds because they are investing in Hindi movies (i.e. native content, not dubs) as well as ground networks of their own (i.e. Zee TV's Siti Cable). Most others, like Turner, have not "landed" in India[7]. (Sharman, pg. 10-2)

Ground networks are growing in spurts of technology. Cable TV United Breweries Ltd., most famous for its beer, is working with the government of Bangalore to plan, install, commission, and operate a major fiber-optic network. (Sekar, pg. 24) Currently, most households are limited to 12 channels due to equipment limitations of the small cable distribution operators, but with the growth of national cable networks, that limit will be 70-85. Still, various laws are being sought to protect small cable's territory from "big cable"[8] which might limit this growth. Regardless, the wiring of India (predicted to jump from 20% to 57% penetration of the nation) will proceed rapidly and significantly improve the signal quality (especially for small operators) as well as target programming for individual areas of the subcontinent.


Two forces tug at modern India's communications sector and particularly at TV and radio programming. First, the 800+ million people, encompassing many languages and diverse cultures, naturally desires a decentralized information system (even America exhibits this disposition). Yet, the historical precedence set by British rule allows and supports a centralized system that contains the nation's diversity within the narrow bounds of Hindi culture. Thus, everything from TV and radio to railways and airlines are controlled by the Indian government. Importantly, newsprint falls way behind TV and radio in its "centralized" importance because few of the outer-city peoples are literate, particularly in Hindi.

Early Doordarshan, AIR-TV, and SITE both functioned under the elitist assumption that television should be an instrument of national integration and the far flung peoples of Indian were targets to change, not participants in the modernized nation-state. (Pendakur, pg. 239) In the `80s, DD switched to spreading the myth and magic of the ruling family (prime minister Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv) as well as serving a growing middle class. The middle class demanded new gadgets (i.e. color) and higher quality entertainment products than DD could deliver; hence the move towards "art" product and imported serials on DD and foreign satellite programming. The growth of videocassette availability (either through borrowing or piracy) has allowed the lower class and regional audiences to balance DD's overt biases and as well as to close the "information gap" between men and women, and lower and upper classes.

With the increased capitalist industrialization of India, market research and advertising[9] are becoming imperative factors of competition. Likewise, the government has also stepped up its market research in areas of TV, tourism, and health. In 1982, it was found that the Indian film feature and film-related song and interview shows were the biggest audience gatherers (70-80%). DD shifted to advertiser sponsored programming which forced increased broadcast time (first in hours, then in increased channels to the present three) and improved signal coverage to rural areas. The pressure for entertainment programming came from both the affluent and the TV manufacturers (naturally wanting to sell more TVs) resulting in India's first sponsored serial in 1983[10].

Consequently, the communication needs of the majority of (lower class, rural) Indians are pushed aside. DD serves only its own propaganda needs, the advertising demands of capitalist firms, and the entertainment prerogatives of the middle/upper classes. (Pendakur, pg. 259) New Cinema directors, who might be concerned with such rural issues, are getting more opportunities to make films than twenty years ago due to DD's "art" film broadcastings and megaserials. Some observers think it is outstanding that the avenues of profits have expanded considerably due to television and video, especially for New Cinema directors. (Lent, pg. 248) But the key films of social change (such as the recently completed When Women Unite) will continue to be circulated on a local scale through videocassettes without official sanction or widespread notoriety.

The multitude of satellite programmers from within and outside India seem poised to take up where DD has left off. Sports, more movies, pornography, and news from the next region, the next country, or from around the world will be available through a growing number of cable network systems. The only caution is to be sure indigenous forms of communication are not ignored, a scenario which would leave rural parts of India further detached from the modernized world.


[1] United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. Formed in 1946 to promote collaboration among nations through education, science, and culture in order to further justice, rule of law, and human rights and freedoms without distinction of race, sex, language or religion. (Johnson, pg. 302)

[2] Based on the pop psychology that "good television drives out bad video."

[3] The Asian equivalent to the Olympics.

[4] The politics of introducing color is complex and well covered in Pendakur, pg. 242-3.

[5] For those without satellite dishes, a nation-wide ground transmitter system was now in place covering 72% of the country in 1988 compared to 60% of the population in 1971. (Pendakur, pg. 244)

[6] Although STAR is speculated to move from Hong Kong to India. It has been buying large sites in most of the major centers of India. (Narang, pg. 45)

[7] Although ESPN encrypted itself in May and had 3.5 million subscribers by September 1996. (Narang, pg. 45) It operates out of Singapore and targets India, China, and the rest of Asia.

[8] The chief minister of Andhra Pradesh reportedly cut a deal in which his campaign promotions are aired for free on local terrestrial channels with the promise he will not disturb the current tax structure for small cable operators who currently have a stranglehold on cable in the area. (Sekar, pg. 25)

[9] The twin tools for creation and management of demand observes Pendakur, pg. 251.

[10] Hum Log (We People) was a big success too. (Pendakur, pg. 255)


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