Received a letter yesterday to renew my TV license from BBC. Was thinking hard, whether to go for it, since it will cost me a good 145£ per year - Which is quite a lot of money ! I could have actually decided not to go for it straightaway, but the very thought of missing my favourite shows and documentaries in 'beeb' (that's BBC's 'medium form') made me think again and am still pondering. Something inside me tells that i will get it - The nation's first public & national broadcaster is luring me with its endless charm !!
Having decided that, a thought about our own 'Doordarshan' a.k.a DD (NO - Not 'flashbacking' and nostalgia on 'Giant Robots' & 'Oliyum Oliyum') flashed across my mind.. How quickly it's fame spread and how much swifter was the recess. A quick googling on DD and its viewership share brought a 'latest' hindu article dated '2002' and apparently in that year the viewership of DD national was a mammoth 2.38 %.
A majority of the decline can be attributed to intense competition and DD's inability to stay in the fray. True that there are a plethora of channels hogging the TRP limelight with their enormously benefitable programs - 'VIP samayals' & 'Deala no deala' and the ever famous 'cry-baby-six-to-eleven-serials'. Of course there are a few channels, which despite being a part of the entertainment war, provide us some quality viewership now & then. Add to this political influence, and every party having their own channel,one can quite understand the stiff competition.
Point is,all the aforementioned things happened to Beeb as well. Its monopoly in broadcasting was (& is) challenged by numerous private players like sky, Virgin, Channel 4, ITV, which started mushrooming every day. Did Beeb give out so easily - Nope. It went back to the drawing board and clinched on to its mantra - INNOVATION. One great result of such innovations was the 'iplayer' which revolutionized internet viewing of documentaries and tv shows (with Digital rights management). It was such a big success that the internet service providers started complaining about the sudden rush of traffic to their site and demanded that the network bandwidths be improved. Verdict was out in a few days - Iplayer was an astounding success !! Try visting www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer once and i gurantee that you will be startled by its appeal ! The quality of videos there is mind boggling - so much that you can see people play videos from that to test the display quality of new Laptops !
BBC is funded by 'public licensing'- It's operation is funded by people. Question is Can't DD come up with a similar idea - Take money from the mass and start looking at improvements ? Might sound a silly idea but who knows, it could work out. After all DD itself started as a part of the All India Radio program in some makeshift studios! When people can pay 100-150 Rs for Cable television, am sure they would not mind shelling out a few bucks for their once-upon-a-time-beloved-DD. Of course this isnt going to be simple idea because 'DD' as a brand has already been dubbed as 'old' and 'uninteresting' by our population. So convincing people that they can be back with a bang and provide quality viewership is going to take some effort !! Everything lies in the hands of Prasar bharathi !!
Neverthless, i still keep dreaming about seeing my favourite programs in WWW.DDTV.IN/DESI-PLAYER, one day in the near future !!!!