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Twenty five years after the Indian economy opened up to align with a shrinking world and the broadcasting sector moved from the state-owned Doordarshan to almost 900 channels now, television has indeed played a major role in shaping the viewer’s choices and educating the masses.
As the industry grew over the years, the commerce between broadcasters, agencies and advertisers was becoming large enough, but remained complex and tardy. Television broadcasters needed a credit management mechanism that followed a due process between advertisers, media buying agencies and themselves. The Indian Broadcasting Foundation was established in 1999 to primarily fulfill this simple need. A not-for-profit organization, IBF’s members comprise both News and Non-News Channels (GEC, Sports, Music, Movies, Infotainment, etc). Over these fifteen-odd years, IBF has worked arduously to earn its stripes and be considered the apex organization representing television broadcasters.
The Indian Television Industry
The average viewer today is not only overwhelmed with an abundant choice of programmes, gadgets and platforms to watch content, but the journey has created new benchmarks in line with the country’s diverse cultures, languages and topographies, making India the world’s second largest television market. Such a phenomenon is unlikely to have a parallel in times to come. Television today has a high value impact on the lives of the masses and their aspirations. Being a great leveler, television also commands the unique distinction of not only bringing together people from different strata and binding them cohesively, but it has also experienced an unprecedented outreach that has transformed the way people think, dream, aspire, act and decide.
The journey has been fascinating. The number of people with access to television has gone up substantially -- TV households have grown by nearly 75% from 93 million in 2008 to 163 million in 2016. This is set to grow further. The total amount of time spent watching television has gone up significantly across the country. It was 139 billion minutes per week in 2008, which has gone up to 217 billion minutes in 2011, 286 billion minutes in 2014 and in 2016, it stands at 647 billion minutes – a supernatural growth of 365% over the 2008 figures. This perhaps explains why TV viewing in India has not taken a backseat despite the technological advances and growth of OTP platforms.
The industry is projected to grow at a rate of 15.1 CAGR between 2015- 2020, and is expected to touch Rs 1098 billion by 2020.
Source: FICCI KPMG M&E Industry Report 2016
As one would acknowledge, the time spent watching TV content is at an all-time high, but due to holistic changes in the technological space and TV landscape, more and more content is simultaneously being consumed on smartphones and other hand-held devices. This is a paradox. Consumer preferences having evolved over a period of time, it has now given rise to anytime news/programme anywhere. This has led to the creation of a digital space which is very fast paced, technologically superior and does not require any traditional set up to operate. It simultaneously poses a challenge to the existing and traditional broadcasting. The raison d’etre for this digital revolution is the fact that it is user-driven and content is available on-demand. This phenomenon is accelerating the pace of the digital sector’s growth. Analysts have also termed it as a battle between the new and traditional. What is even more perplexing is the fact that whereas globally, traditional media is finding it hard to remain relevant and the digital sector is leading the growth trajectory, consequently bringing in disruptions in the market, India continues to lead by an aberration where the growth of digital media has only added more viewing minutes/hours to the supposedly conservative television viewing. Nevertheless even in complexity of content, design creativity mixed with technological advances, one thing never changes -- the power of storytelling.