Whenever you think about Indian television channels the first few names that come to your mind would be Star Plus, star one, Zee TV, Sony etc but now it seems like it’s the age of Ott platforms where platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime are ruling in the field of daily entertainment and to cope up with this new development and challenge the traditional television channels are also moving towards online platforms like zee5.com, Disney hotstar, colors tv.com and many more but what many people don’t realize is that television channels like Star Plus, star one, Zee, Sony etc etc they came to India only after the liberalization policy.
In the year 1991 and before all these private channels became popular there was only one player in the television channel Market which held the Undisputed Monopoly champion in the viewership and that only channel was doordarshan and in today’s time many people might not even know that there is a channel called doordarshan but there was a time where for 32 years right from the introduction of television in India in the year 1959 till the era of a liberalization which started in the year 1991 doordarshan ruled as India’s only means of news, entertainment, knowledge and sports and for many shows like Ramayan, Mahabharata and shaktimaan still makes them feel very nostalgic so what happened to doordarshan? how doordarshan ended up from being India’s number one channel to becoming a Channel with no demand and what was the path doordarshan took to become irrelevant.
How big was Doordarshan
Do you know which is the most watched TV show or television show in the entire world so to answer this question some of you might think that it maybe it could be one of the show which is produced in America or maybe some other foreign country but let me tell you the most watched TV show in the entire world is none other than ramayan which was streamed on a Doordarshan and this is according to the tweet that was posted by DD National from their official Twitter handle and of course many people disagree with this claim that duration has made and they Place their counter argument accordingly but let’s not get into this debate but if you see the data released by DD National about 7.7 crore people have watched Ramayan across the globe when it was re-telecasted during the lockdown time maybe 7.7 crore people watching this show might not be record breaking but it will easily put the show on one of the highest watched television shows in the entire world.
Need of Doordarshan channel
So the need for doordarshan started with the independence of India at that time Indians only had very limited options to gain knowledge page and entertain themselves on a daily basis all they would do was read books and listen to radio channels but on 15th September 1959 doordarshan was broadcasted as an experimental broadcast in Delhi and during those time doordashan was known with the name television India and during those times Indians loved to listen to five minutes of News Bulletin which was broadcasted on the radio channel so in the year 1965 the same News Bulletin was also regularly broadcasted on doordarshan in some cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Amritsar but very soon with satellite launches it was made possible to broadcast these news bulletins on a national scale.
Earlier people used to listen to the news on the radio or used to read it next day in the newspaper but this new concept of watching the news with the visuals was mind-blowing because in present time if you look at it it might look very insignificant but for people during those time it was just like the discovery of fire by humans because they had never seen such a miracle before and this is how the trend of TV or television was started in India and later during the Midway through the 1970s the satellite instructional television experiment helped develop programs that provided entertainment in the form of dance, music, drama and folk and also rural art forms as well as information on agriculture Health and Family Planning
Doordarshan Contribution to India
Nowadays television channels might be seen as a mode of entertainment but during those time the significant achievement of doordarshan was not entertainment but its contribution that helped India to grow for example during the 1960s Green Revolution was started to spread information regarding farming and on 26th Jan, 1967 doordarshan started broadcasting a TV show called krishidarshan which was started to help the farmers to grow crops using more effective methods and this show which was broadcasted on doordarshan revolutionized the Indian Agriculture and the impact krishi darshan created was so big that inspired many researchers in India and abroad to do a research on how big the impact krishidarshan has created on the Indian agricultural changes big because of the show krishi darshan not only helped Farmers but also India because at that time India was totally dependent on agricultural income and also till did krishidarshan is helping Farmers.
Seperation of Doordarshan
Until 1976 doordarshan was part of all India radio or AIR but on April 1976 duration separated from all India radio and became a separated Department under the ministry of information and broadcasting and currently along with AkashVani it is one of Prasar bharati’s Divisions
Rise of Doordarshan
With time Doordarshan started gaining more traction and the year 1982 was very significant for doordarshan because during that year the Independence Day speech of Indira Gandhi and the Asian games which was organized in Delhi was broadcasted on doordarshan but doordashan saw its biggest rise with the launch of ramayan because earlier people only used to read the ramayan and used to visualize those scenes in their mind but when it was broadcasted on doordashan people started watching it with their hearts and The Craze for ramayan was so big and massive that when the episode of ramayan was broadcasted around 300 to 400 people used to gather at one place to watch ramayan and also when the ramayan episodes were broadcasted the whole city and the streets used to go empty because everybody was watching ramayan
Soon things started to change with the introduction of LPG policy in the year 1991 and because of this liberalization now private channels or private players were also capable of launching their own channels because of which the Monopoly of doordarshan was threatened and very soon doordashan faced its first competitor when Zee TV was born because as soon as Zee TV was launched they started broadcasting many family-friendly shows and dramas and we can easily say that it was the beginning of the SAS Bahu serials but still this competition was manageable for doordarshan because to match with Zee TV they also launched many Prime Time shows like chandrakanta and alif Laila which were massive hit shows of doordarshan and even today some people might still remember popular the characters like the notorious villain Krur singh from those shows and at this point of a time doordarshan was actually winning the race against the private players because at that time ramayan was already having a large set of audience and also the news show that was telecasted on doordarshan was above the standards but after 1995 the competition started intensifying because new channels like Star TV, Sony TV were also launched and this was the time when doordashan started facing tough competition and it was during those tough times doordarshan played its best cards because right now if you see every member of the family have their own mobile phone where they can watch whatever they like but during those time it was not like that an entire family used to have only one television and doordashan understood that the kids or the younger member of the family would decide which channel the entire family is going to watch and that is why they started broadcasting shows like Junior G and the legendary show Shaktiman in the Year 1997 and I believe there is no need to mention house successful and how big the shaktimaan had become and what was the craze of shaktimaan during those time and this was a very clever move from doordashan which saved them for the next five years and everything went smoothly till the year 2000. After year 2000 many of the private channels also had some of the popular hit shows which targeted kids and the younger members of the family so in order to make a comeback in the year 2003 doordarshan again launched new shows like Maher, Miss India and the so-called horror show ye Hawayein which also won the best TV serial award and all these shows actually worked for doordarshan and in the Year 2005 doordarshan was at its peak and was easily beating all the private channels with their hit shows.
Downfall of Doordarshan
In 2005 was also the year which triggered the downfall of doordarshan so to cope up with this downfall and to increase Their audience doordashan started partnering with some popular TV shows like pavitra rishta of ektakapoor and gave very big hit shows like Pavitra bandhan and Saraswatichandra but now things were getting harder for doordarshan because channels like Star Plus, Sony, and Zee had many shows in their portfolio and these shows were produced with a higher budget and higher quality and on the other hand doordarshan started struggling because of their low budget and poor quality shows and the main Competitive Edge of private players or private channels had over duration was private channels were very quick in innovating they experimented with a lot of content and they kept on growing shows which were working and closed those shows which were not working and also other shows of private channels figured out how to plan their content well in advance so that they could capitalize on trends like Diwali or Valentine’s Day, Friendship Day or any other festival because private channels figured that their shows would attract more audience on a regular basis if they showed their favorite characters celebrating festivals like Diwali or other popular events like Friendship Day or Valentine’s Day and along with that the characters in their shows started wearing latest trending clothes and appearance which impressed a lot of female audience who started watching these shows regularly and on the other hand Doordarshan was not able to cope up with this challenge because first of all they had a lower Budget on the shows and second thing is when it comes to Innovation and bringing something new to the audience.
We have to accept that private players are more capable in this domain compared to the government companies or government players and this trend is not only evident in case of doordashan you can also see this trend in case of BSNL or coal India or even a State Bank of India versus private players where private players prove to be more efficient and effective compared to government players and because of all these reasons now duration has lost its relevance and significance and nowadays people only prefer to tune into doordarshan only to watch Independence Day or Republic Day events and considering the present times even television channels are becoming outdated because now the time is of Ott platforms where the competition is more intense and to fight in this competition is more expensive so in the end all that can be said about doordarshan is that if Government really want to have some future for doordarshan then the government have to look far or do to have any darshan for its future existence.