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Govt to Allow more Television Channels – A boon or a bane?

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How many TV channels do you watch on an average? 10?… 15?… 20?… 25?… Certainly not more than that, for sure. So, do we still have any scope for new television channel launches in India? Yes, of course!

Over the last few years, we’ve seem how relatively new satellite channels such as Imagine TV, Colors, etc. (both channels were launched in 2008) made a mark and provided tough competition to established channels such as Zee TV, Star TV and Sony amongst others. LoL! The old Doordarshan is nowhere in the contention over here.

Television Channels in India

Then again, we have ET Now (launched in 2009) that ably challenged the years of monopoly of CNBC-TV18 in the business-news segment. This proves that the Indian television industry is not something where broadcasters can rest on past laurels. If they are complacent, they are sure to lose the plot. Here is some number crunching:

Year 2010 saw dawn of over 100 television channels in India. If this figure falls short of your expectations; hold your breath – last five years alone saw emergence of 444 channels by the broadcasters. In a nutshell, all this hoopla surrounding television channels is to grab a pie of huge Indian advertising industry pegged at over Rs.25000 crore.

In latest, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has accepted TRAI’s recommendations in its July 2010 report to remove a cap on total number of private satellite channels meant for down-linking and up-linking from India.

To put things in perspective – in 2009, I&B ministry had halted the procedure to accept new applications for the burgeoning television industry with regard to spectrum availability issues. By the end of 2010, a total of 260-odd applications for new TV channels were still pending with the Ministry.

What’s more? The ministry has also reduced the net worth requirement of a company, from the proposed TRAI guidelines, for operating television channels in a bid to provide business opportunity to the small and medium-sized players and encourage divergent sources of news and views.

As against the TRAI’s recommendation to peg net worth requirement of a company interested in launch of non-news and current affairs channel at Rs.25 crore, the ministry proposed to lower the eligibility cap at Rs.5 crore.

Hopefully, we will see the uprising of a whole lot of new-generation television channels coming in with a fresh wave of experience. But, certainly, we as viewers wouldn’t like to be bombarded with a slew of channels which fail to provide appropriate content and meet recognized industry standards.

What’s your take on contemporary television content and channels?

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