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DTH, gameshows were the most outstanding media phenomenon this year

28-December-2000
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DTH, gameshows were the most outstanding media phenomenon this year

If one were to pinpoint the single most outstanding media phenomenon this year, it would undoubtedly be the advent of gameshows as prime time revenue generators, and the bitter battle which ensued between the main players - Zee, STAR Plus and Sony for supremacy in the aftermath.

The small screen became purveyor of knowledge and that too competitive knowledge, after Rupert Murdoch-controlled STAR Plus launched Kaun Banega Crorepati in July with superstar Amitabh Bachchan as host, heralding the channel's transition to an all-Hindi one.

And this was just the beginning of a new era. What KBC brought with it was sweeping change to television viewing and made knowledge itself a source of entertainment, besides bringing to the forefront the importance of money as prizes which lured even diehard non-quizzers to watch the show daily.

While the channels were busy scoring (rating) points over each other, the government on its part took two major decisions - permitting direct-to-home broadcast and privatisation of the FM radio service.

While DTH is set to revolutionise television watching in India once the guidelines become clearer, privatisation of FM is also being seen as a progressive step which is expected to improve broadcast quality and provide the consumer with choices.

The growing consumerism and increasing reach of television channels, well past urban areas and metros to semi-urban and rural households, forced the main players including state-owned Doordarshan, to constantly launch newer programmes.

A mixture of entertainment and knowledge was the offshoot of this philosophy, and DD and Star PLUS capitalised on it, albeit in different ways, forcing others to follow suit.

Doordarshan, which still retains its premier position in terms of both reach and viewership within the country was metamorphosed under the aegis of Prasar Bharti and restructured operations, including the launch of several regional language channels besides its own news channel during the year.

Meanwhile, KBC has become the focal point around which all of the channels' programming revolves; unheard of advertising rates like Rs 3 lakh per 10 seconds have done the rounds on this show. So, audience pull has resulted in sound economics for the channel, which might break even in India much earlier than projected.

In KBC, STAR found the first-mover advantage and played its cards right to push down more than four of rival Zee's top 10 programmes between July and October.

What Zee did was to imitate STAR and launch a gameshow of its own called Sawaal Dus Crore Ka - which subsequently bombed.

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