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World TV Day: Industry barons go down the memory lane

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It was on 15 September 1959 when India officially experimented her tryst with the box that has been loved, loathed and equally criticized over the years.  But today, in its current avatar, the television set has seen a paramount shift, right from colour television being introduced in 1982 as India geared up for the Asian games to today’s 4K technology.

Production values of various shows as well as the viewership experience have changed phenomenally.  As the world today celebrates World Television Day which was declared by the U.N in December 1996, indiantelevision.com speaks to some of India’s most notable names from the TV industry recalling some of their fondest memories of viewing television programmes.

Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar

Television needs to look beyond its traditional ecosystem to embrace the opportunities offered by digital technology. The medium will die if it continues to grow in a linear fashion. TV began over electro-magnetic waves in 1959 and has grown through satellite to cover the entire country.

While terrestrial TV has its own relevance, it will be quickly overtaken by new technologies including satellite and digital addressable systems.

India Today Group consulting editor Rajdeep Sardesai

For me my fondest memory was the coverage of the live elections in the years of 1995-1996. At that time, everyone would watch the national broadcaster Doordarshan as there were no private news channels. Covering the elections as a reporter along with journalist like Vinod Dua and Dr Pranoy Roy is a big part of those memories for me.

NDTV executive vice chairperson KVL Narayan Rao

Television today is more contemporary. Society has changed a little and what you have on air is reflective of that. The world has become a smaller place. There is more access now as compared to 25 years ago when the only window to international news was The Week That Was, produced by NDTV as one of the earliest private players. I remember serials like Buniyad, Humlog, Mahabharat and Ramayan. Some of the old ones were core of the heart serials and dealt with issues that were the reality of so many people of the country at that time such as post partition. The serials now have different production values.

Sony Six business head Prasana Krishnan  

Sports on television is growing rapidly and the Indian sports fan today has more access to viewing multiple properties than any other fan in the world and that too at an affordable cost. My fondest memory has to be this year’s FIFA World Cup Brazil as not only was it personally satisfying for me as a football fan but  a matter of pride to be carried on the channel. Every minute of the game on TV was engaging.

Ten Sports CEO Rajesh Sethi

Viewing television programmes is an enriching experience and is all about entertainment, entertainment and entertainment! Watching television especially sports is a great stress buster and allows me to relax. In fact watching sports on TV for me is all about celebration.

Gasoline, founder and chief creative officer Anil Kakar

From just two Doordarshan channels to over 800 channels today, television has come a long way. The good thing is, content continues to get more defined to suit niche audiences.  With the recent changes announced by the Star Network, viewers now have the choice of subscribing to specific channels on an a la carte basis. It will be interesting to see how this will go on to alter viewing patterns. In the long run, this might even lead to a shift of focus, largely from GECs to more diversified, niche content, as television gets more fragmented. Ultimately, as audiences, we will have even greater choice than we have today. Even with so many channels today, I would say the finest moments in television belong to the 90s. MTV and Channel V brought in a cultural change and attitudinal shift of sorts. Programmes such as Different Strokes, The Wonder Years, Mind Your Language and Star Trek were had to miss and are still hard to forget.

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