The two foundations of the television industry – content and distribution platforms – have a strong, symbiotic relationship. Each feeds into the other. With changing viewership patterns, mushrooming of niche channels (lifestyle, real estate, travel and living, etc.) as well as availability of newer technologies such as broadband, mobile TV, cable, IPTV, DTH, etc., can we say that Indian television has entered a matured phase?
These issues were discussed at length at the session on ‘Indian TV industry: Transition from adolescence to maturity’. The panel was moderated by Sunil Lulla, Director, Real Global Broadcasting Pvt Ltd, while the keynote address was delivered by Sameer Nair, CEO, NDTV Imagine. The panel comprised Zohra Chatterji, Joint Secretary (broadcast) Ministry of Information and Broadcasting; Todd Miller, Executive Vice President and MD, Asia, Sony Pictures Television International; Jagi Mangat Panda, Director & Promoter, Oritel Communications Ltd; Sudhir Agarwal, CEO, Wire & Wireless; and Tarun Katial, COO, Big FM.
In his keynote address, Nair said, “For all practical reasons, we should say that the industry is mature with 400-plus channels and multiple languages across genres. I also think that the meltdown will take us to the kind of maturity that is expected from us. Destructive competition must and will give way to constructive competition.”
Chatterji observed, “There are certain gaps in the system that are not allowing us to reach the level of maturity that we should have. Lack of independent regularity of content, overdependence of content on rating, inadequate rating system, and need for targeted digitisation are a few such hurdles.”
Panda opined, “I think the Indian media industry has long way to go as compared to other developed countries, where content is used about for networking. In India, it is about control.”
Agarwal said, “The much-needed change will only come about with digitisation and reach. Today, out of the total households, only 30 per cent used digitisation, so there is a huge potential to reach out.”
Katial observed, “We are fairly young in content differentiation. The basic rules of engagement in the industry are missing. We have a lot of issues to answer if the television industry in India has to mature.”