World Television Day: TV has no threat from OTT and the traditional medium is here to stay forever, here's why

On the occasion of World Television Day, let’s understand why the medium won't fade away anytime soon despite various entertainment mediums.

Updated on Nov 23, 2022 02:57 PM IST  |  73.6K
Anupamaa, Bigg Boss 16, World Television Day
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Lunch sessions in a media house are no less than a round-table conference, and ours is no different either. One fine afternoon, one of my colleagues said that TV as a medium might die a natural death, and I begged to differ. She pointed out how everyone's glued to their phones and with the variety of content available, why would one want to watch the idiot box? One may think that everyone is hooked on to their phones and consuming content from digital platforms, but it may also be noted that these people represent a fraction of the sect. The lunch ended and we all went back to run our regular errands but this question, 'Is television on the verge of its extinction?' continued to hound me. 

So, here are a few points that state why TV is here to stay:

Television has withstood the test of time

The pandemic hit us all in March 2020 which brought the world to a standstill. Baking cakes, preparing new food items, and reflecting on one's own self were among the few things that the audience did during the lockdown. When it came to entertainment, their first choice was shifting towards television for entertainment. B R Chopra's Ramayan re-ran on TV and it made a world record by becoming the most-watched television show ever. Doordarshan National tweeted, "WORLD RECORD!! Rebroadcast of #Ramayana on #Doordarshan smashes viewership records worldwide, the show becomes the most watched entertainment show in the world with 7.7 crore viewers on 16th of April." The scenes of the show were discussed on social media which proves that the tech-savvy youth also enjoys consuming content on the 35 mm. 

Producer Binaiferr Kohli believes that OTT may have flourished now but TV has always been facing tough competition from movies for ages. Known for producing shows in the comedy genre, Binaiferr Kohli exclusively told us, "TV has and will always maintain its charm. TV was always competing with movies across the channels. There was a serial running here and a big star's movie running on another channel but TV still held its own forte. If you give people relevant content and what they want then it will work. ‘Jo hit hai vo fit hai.’If you give people what they want, then TV is here to stay forever.”

Adding further, the producer shared, “Good quality content, good execution, good stories, good narration, good acting - whole team effort in any field is here to stay forever. My serial, FIR ran for 9 years, Bhabi Ji Ghar Par Hai, which is now in its eighth year, is proof of the same. If you even see Rajan Shahi ji's content of Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata hai, it has been running for years. If people are liking it for years with quite big movies and content against it then that means it is being executed well and appreciated well. So, if you do something with conviction and it's relevant, it'll do well no matter what you have against it. Whether you run in branded shoes or local shoes, it's your speed that will take you to the winning spot. So, it's your style, your calculation, your movement, your hardwork, your perseverance that will take you to the end, not the platform. The shows are the platform, there are cheap shows, expensive shows and branded shows, it's how you run the race that will take you to the post.”

Audience has a psychological connection with TV

Television may be growing older but there are audiences of every demographic that watch TV. It brings nostalgia value for the millennials and it’s the only medium that has a psychological connection with the audience. The audience has grown up watching characters like Mogli, Shaktiman, Tom & Jerry, Sarabhai vs Sarabhai, and shows like Hum Paanch, and CID among many others that bring up many childhood memories - a feeling only TV can offer. 

Agreeing with this sentiment, seasoned actor Sumeet Raghvan told us that TV has no threat from any medium. “TV is a way of life. There's still a generation that searches for the remote at home. There's still a small tiff or an argument over the remote saying, 'Are, mera show hai, mujhe dekhna hai.' I really don't think TV has got any threat from any of these platforms be it films, OTT or anything. Everybody has got their space in the industry. OTT has got their own space, television has got a very dedicated and loyal audience. So, television is here to stay for sure. And, as I said, actors like me will never leave television,” said the 51-year-old, who is currently seen in the series, Wagle Ki Duniya.

TV as a medium will always grow

Producer Rajan Shahi, who spearheads the two top-rated shows of Indian television - Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai and Anupamaa, believes that these daily soaps have changed the dynamic of the TV industry. Speaking to us, the ace producer said, “TV will always grow as you have seen in recent years that even through the lockdown period after cinemas were shut, it was predicted that slowly the web series will take over, and TV will die a very natural death because the audience has lost connect as there was no new content. When we came back from the pandemic, Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai and Anupamaa came back, and Yeh Rishta went higher in numbers.”

Anupamaa is the numero uno show and talking about how it contributed to the growth of television post-pandemic, Shahi stated, “Anupamaa is one of the shows that has changed the entire dynamics and became a trendsetter. With the kind of ratings, Anupamaa got soon after its launch with 4.5 which was unheard of. I would very proudly say how Anupamaa became a game changer for television and we saw the kind of audiences that came forward to watch Anupamaa - nationally, internationally, and across all age groups. Anupamaa kind of bonded the entire nation together, and watching TV came back to the forefront, and with its success also in the digital beat, it has been a top-rated show for more than 2 years. Everybody says that this is such a healthy trend contributing to the fact that all families came back together to watch television. Even at 10 pm, every family came to watch one show and they even consumed it on OTT. Anupamaa's journey inspired so many of them that even OTT started making related content. In television today, we are flooded with shows that have been inspired by Anupamaa. I think good content will always rule. With Anupamaa, and Yeh Rishta for the past 14 years and almost going to touch 4000 episodes, that shows that TV is very relevant, and all mediums will coexist with each other. But yes, Anupamaa changed the entire dynamics of television and took it to a larger heights.”

‘TV is the comfort food we have at home,’ Rupali Ganguly

Rupali Ganguly is one of the most loved faces of the television industry. Be it Monisha or Anupamaa, she struck a chord with the audience, and after years of being in the industry, Rupali feels, “TV is the comfort food that you eat at home. OTTs are like eating restaurant's luxury food. It's a bit up-market and has a different kind of story-telling. It has something different in tandem with the modern generations. Amid all this, we forget that a large chunk of our population is our normal Indians, who have still not gone into the OTT zone. For instance, I don't know how to operate gadgets and smart TV is still an alien concept to me. I have learned to watch TV via set-top box. So, TV is the comfort zone for most of us. I haven't understood the world of OTT yet. There may be many people like me in remote villages and even in urban cities, especially the moms, who might find a little difficulty in understanding the digital space. I tried to watch something on the web, but there was someone blurting out extreme cuss words and killing people. This is also fine in the name of creativity, it's different but I don't like all this. I would rather watch a comfortable show like Anupamaa, or any other show that I can sit with my family and watch, and not feel embarrassed to watch with my son or an elder family member. That's why I don't think TV will ever go out of fashion. Till the time our culture and the thought process, we have had since childhood is prevalent, like, don't abuse in front of children and don't watch sex scenes in front of your elders. The medium that you can comfortably watch with your family, is TV, and that is why TV will never go out of fashion. No matter how modern or educated you are, or even the youth, no matter how modern their moms are, will not watch such content with their family. The guidelines of TV is very crucial for Indians and TV is here to stay. It's a rocking and amazing medium.”

The primary audience of TV is female whereas for OTT, it’s male

Another seasoned producer, Nilanjana Purkayasstha, who has given some of the hit television shows like Kulfi Kumar Bajewala, Ek Tha Raja Ek Thi Rani among others, feels that every medium can coexist. While sharing her thoughts, she shared, “When television was invented, people thought that television would destroy movies. It didn’t. Similarly, now there is this thinking that OTT will damage television. In reality, the OTT " originals" viewing audience is different from the ones watching television. Sports is the most viewed content on OTT in India, at least. The primary audience of television is female whereas that of OTT is male. Sure, there are overlaps, especially with catch-up TV on OTT but it is not enough to make a significant dent. All media of entertainment can co-exist in a country as economically and sociologically diverse as ours, in my opinion.”

TV is the marketing canvas for advertisers

TV is the primary medium through which advertisers market their products and larger strata of the population become aware of these products through it. Talking about movies, the likes of Rohit Shetty, Anand L Rai, and Sanjay Leela Bhansali, among others acquire satellite rights as it helps in the recall value of their films apart from monetary business. 

Not just actors and producers but we also spoke to director Herumb Khot and asked for his opinion about the boom of OTT, and if it has any effect on Television. “During the lockdown, when the whole world was consuming content of every kind,  one show made on a relatively shoestring budget compared to any grand production OTT show or BOLLYWOOD film broke every possible record of viewership. It was the re telecast of a TV show made in the late 80s, Ramayan by Shri Ramanand Sagar. Despite the boom of various mediums like Films or OTT, TV has survived and thrived. In India except for a few shows, OTT shows means license to use foul language and vulgarity, that leaves TV as the only medium that the family can sit together and enjoy (except sports of course). So despite the constant sword on our head and criticism for saas-bahu and Naagin shows, TV still has a charm and a few more decades before this grand old lady rests in peace,” concluded the director-producer.

ALSO READ: World Television Day EXCLUSIVE: Rupali Ganguly REVEALS why TV will never die

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