What’s on Indian TV?

June 8, 2015               Bangalore, India                               Lemon Tree Hotel

After 20+ hours of travel 15 fellow teachers and I finally arrived at the Lemon Tree Hotel at 4am. After some  much needed sleep, we regrouped for our opening presentation, had dinner, and then I headed back to my room at 9pm for bed.

There is a nice Samsung flatscreen tv in my room so I was really curious to find out what is on Indian television here in Bangalore and wondered how globalized Indian media is.  By Indian standards, Bangalore is a smaller city. By small, I mean slightly larger than New York City with a population approaching 10 million people. Kolkata, Mumbai, and New Delhi are much larger.

Beginning at 9:30pm IST I started flipping through the channels.

News is big here. The English news channels included:

CNN

Times of India

Channel News Asia

New Delhi TV News

CNBC

Aljazzera

And at least 7 other non English news channels.

(There are also 3592 different newspapers published in 35 different languages)

Being a big CNN viewer at home, I was curious to see what CNN’s lead stories were:

Migrants in the Mediterranean

ISIS in Iraq

G7 Summit in Germany

Turkish Elections

FIFA Corruption Scandal

The big prison escape in Clinton, NY

Excessive Use of Police Force to Breakup a Teen Pool Party somewhere in Texas.

The presentation of the new stories was more “news” than entertainment with longer and more in-depth reporting that what we generally see in the U.S.  It was rather refreshing not to see continued coverage of Caitlyn Jenner or the Duggar scandal.

On I went with my channel surfing…

While movie channels with Bollywood films are big, there are Hollywood films being broadcasted in equal number including:

The Matrix Reloaded

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

GI Joe and GI Joe Retaliation

Hercules

“Regular” TV channels included many Indian sit-coms and dramas but Grey’s Anatomy, The Mentalist, Law & Order, Scooby Doo cartoons, Doctor Who, India’s version of The Voice, and Britain’s Got Talent, were also available.

There wasn’t much in the sports department just Cricket and US Professional Wrestling. CNN sports update lead story was on LeBron James and the Cavs in the NBA finals, followed by the FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer.

There is TLC in India. So far, I have not seen evidence of Honey Boo Boo, 19 Kids and Counting, Say Yes to the Dress, or My 600lb Life I wonder if the Indian audience has similar “reality” shows focusing on certain demographic groups that equally fascinate and disgust the viewing audience.

Discovery Channel, FX, MTV India, Comedy Network (where is the Daily Show??), Nickleodean, Fox Life, National Geographic, History Channel, and Animal Planet were all had multiple channels of programming.

What does this all mean?

Major media conglomerates have significant exposure in the world’s second most populous country even when many people out in more rural areas have no access to tv, newspapers, or electricity. Only half of Indians own televisions but it is the 3rd largest television market in the world with over 700 satellite tv channels (India Mirror). “The Indian Media & Entertainment Industry grew by US$12.9 billion in 2009 to US$14.4 billion in 2010, a growth of 11 per cent, according to a report by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and research firm KPMG.(Wikipedia). Continued growth is predicted as infrastructure expands and programming continues to capture viewers in a very competitive market.  The question remains is what impact will “western” vs. “eastern” programming have on the further globalization of India?

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