More media options means fewer choices?

Last week, the Grammy Award winning musician Vishwa Mohan Bhatt lamented that although there were over 500 television channels in the country, there was not one for classical music.

The ad man cum analyst Santosh Desai joins the debate in The Times of India:

Do more options actually mean more choice? We have a few dozen television channels to choose from, but apart from volume and pitch, is there a genuine set of choices?

Every successful product seems to trigger replication—one kind of soap opera begins to work, we see a deluge of programmes with similar themes; as one anchor discovers that hysterical denunciation is the way to ratings, other channels follow suit.

With so many channels, one would have thought that programming of a more specialised kind would become more viable.

In the pre-liberalisation scenario when most programmes got massive ratings, content that spoke to a few might have been unviable, but in today’s world where getting 2-3% of viewers is considered an achievement, surely we should have seen more diversity.

To be sure, there are channels that cater to subjects other than current affairs, serials and cinema, but most of these contain international programming. We have for instance, no classical music on television, little coverage of art, no interest in local folk forms; we have channels that bring us the best of world cinema, but that none that brings us the best of Indian regional cinema in any meaningful way.

Read the article: More choices, fewer options

1 Comment

  1. CV

    At the end of the day, viewership is just a means to get advertisers in…

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