Debate Of The Hour: The GAP between Digital & Television: Narrowed or Widened?

We have a marriage between the two mediums these days, but how successful it actually is..

Sunday, February 04, 2018 | 9:40:32 AM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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There has been a plethora of pieces that have elucidated about the evolution of digital world as opposed to the television era. The latter has been on the block for multiple decades and the former has been a rising phenomenon over the past few years. But the entertainment industry is evolving and as we call it, 'changing' with time.

The bombardment of digital references and celebrities on TV and vice versa is a lucid example of how both the mediums are striving to emulate with the changing markets. However, is this bombardment truly a necessity and is the gap between both the mediums actually narrowed or widened. Let's see-

The Declining Stage For Television

Time and again, we talk about the fall of GRPs (Gross Rating Points) on television and how mega shows do not fetch the same numbers anymore. Be it Star Plus, Sony TV, Zee TV or Colors, no channel has been spared and has gotten affected by it in one way or another. This couldn't have been more pronounced with the rise of digital popularity in recent times. There were times, when literally the whole family used to sit and watch a TV show together, even if the younger lot did not like it. As a 90's kid, I did not have the liberty to have a cell phone and internet connection till I was in college and today, we witness little ones having a mobile with themselves. While, the exposure that this is causing and how gratuitous it is, is a different perspective to be looked at; the disguised blessing it has done for the digital world is how everything is so readily available on the fingertips. The kids today don't want to sit on to watch a show for a stipulated time and get furious when a commercial is on-air. TV for sure, has declined in its true sense.

The Rising Era Of Digital World

Granted that digital space is still is a niche that is being served upon, but the niche is the future. And we are a country of word-of-mouth. Haven't we seen some of the smaller films doing wonders only after they get a positive review? That is the case with web shows too. For the younger lot, to have a conversation with their friends and when one asks the other, "arre, tune ye etc. series dekha kya?" is a more prevalent question then asking "How was your day?" This leads to a widespread reach amongst viewers and with reducing data packages and at-home WiFi connections; web shows, sketches and similar factors have been on the rise constantly. Today, AIB (All India Bakchod), Bhuvan Bam (BB Ki Vines), TVF (The Viral Fever) among others are some of the most popular digital channels, who have even managed to get Bollywood biggies attracted to their presentations. But..

The Demographic Is a Haystack and the Digital Space Is a Needle

The Demographic of India is as wide as it gets and while a cell phone is present in every other urban child's fingertips; a television set is present at every rural house's basic setting.  You go to the remote places in India and even though they have a compact house, a television set is a must-have furniture for them. And unfortunately, they do not have the need or want to see an artsy show or a psychological thriller, and you cannot blame them. They just do not connect with them as a rational human being would only watch something constantly, only If he/she relates with it. For them, it is the quintessential saas-bahu sagas or the kitchen politics that is something they endure. When they see a protagonist fighting those odds, they feel liberated. I am in no way, categorizing this section of the viewers as I understand the limitations they have. However, as I mentioned in the beginning, the haystack is there at display and digital space is a needle, which is gradually growing.

The Attempt Of Marriage Between the Two Mediums

How, just how, can one manage to make both the mediums work? Well, we don't know if that is entirely possible, but the least that can be done is cross-branding. The emergence of digital stars have led several TV people to believe that this is the need of the hour and we need to tap into this growing market too. For instance, there is an onslaught of reality shows on TV every other day. But, we are humans afterall and getting saturated is one of our prime activities. So, what can one do to try and get innovative? Concepts is one thing and bringing in new faces is another. A recent flock of reality shows and chat programmes have seen several digital stars coming in either as special guests or legit judges. The best example is how Mallika Dua, Zakir Khan and Hussain Dalal became the panel of mentors of The Great Indian Laughter Challenge on Star Plus. It is unfortunate that the show did not turn out to be a success as they would have hoped it to be, but it did open some closed doors too.

Another instance is a recent one, where the cliche was broken about how only a TV actor or a VJ is the host of the red carpet of a prestigious award ceremony. The Filmfare Awards Ceremony red carpet saw Sahil Shah and Sapan Verma from East India Comedy hosting the event.

This marriage may only be recent, but the intention and ideation behind the same is crystal. Did it work out?

There Are A Lot Of Hunches

Well, it isn't obligatory for an experiment to be successful, right? With the above mentioned and a few other cases, the marriage hasn't been an entirely triumphant one so far. With Malika, Zakir and Hussain's short stint in TGILC and a mixed response and disappointing ratings to Sahil Khattar's hosting on Dance India Dance respectively, there has been a lot of hunches than victories.


The objective is correct, but the execution seems faulty. It may be a tad too early to rub 'unknown' faces to an audience who don't seem to relate to 'their kind of humour.' Also, there is a flipside scare of how the actual viewers of these digital stars feel rather differently, when they see their favourite youtuber/digital guy doing something quintessential and mainstream.

The Future Is An Explosion

Albeit all of the above, I choose not to be pessimistic and see this union as a means of quality and guaranteed entertainment.  I, and even you would have constantly cribbed about not having superior celluloid viewing for all this time, isn't it? Who knows, with digital people coming in on television and the snail-paced but assured growth of the idiot box, we will soon see path-breaking shows that we keep wondering about. 

So, let entertainment be the means of catharsis for you and not be the accumulated garbage in the mind, we usually develop.

Let us know your views about this piece below..

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Posted on: 05 February 2018 at 9:34pm
There are some good TV shows on Indian TV. But the problem is people dont wanna watch them for any odd reason. BB Ki Vines/AIB is nothing but crass humour which its sad that India likes - the videos are nothing but dirty. Sony TV series are quite short unintentionally and do very well in terms of storyline. The problem is, people love watching the regressive and drags Tu Sooraj Main Saanjh Piya Ji and Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai versus Yeh Un Dinon Ki Baat Hai , Aapke Aa Jaane Se , even Tere Sang Yaara is good. The problem is our audience wants crass regressive series.

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Posted on: 04 February 2018 at 3:04pm
I disagree with you.
Your statement is in contrast to India's sole trp measuring agency (Barc India)
The change in viewership is largely because of change in viewership measurement system.

Earlier if a tv shows gets 1000 impressions its trp was considered as 10 but in Barc if a show grabs 2200 impressions its trp is 1 plus Barc has increased its sample size fourfold.

You must have done some homework before writing logicless things like (only) city kids have cell phones and rural people watch useless shows
but for your kind information both rural and Urban have their viewership share of 50% each
and stop badmouthing rural Indians.
Yes , they might not be as modern like you
Who finds crass toilet jokes (BB ki vines , Carryminati etc ) funny.

.<br/>Below commentor are saying tv shows are regressive <br/>Yes , Indian tv shows are regressive<br/>but when their favorite actors feature in that they become progressive for these so called modern people.<br/>Shows like Udaan , Kumkum , Shakti , Yeh Hain Mohabbtein , Naamkaran have huge fanfollowing .<br/>Ye kahan ki 'progressiveness' hai ?<br/>

Edited on:04 February 2018 at 3:16pm

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Posted on: 04 February 2018 at 11:13am
The thing is that Indian TV needs to change. Crappy shows go on for years while the good ones are pulled off-air due to low TRPs, leaving the new audience with stupid shows with illogical tracks. Even some of the good shows fall prey to weird storylines & tracks only because of TRP race. Also the Indian audience has now opened upto westen shows as well like Korean, Chinese, Turkish, English, American, Pakistani, Indian web series etc. They are much more better than ours with finite series & no stupid tracks, tears, conspiracies, etc. Besides most of the Indian TV are highly regressive & stupid in nature. So, Digital space is developing for a reason & that reason is that audience wants change. They don't want to cling on to one show for years & rather want logical storylines (that make sense). Everyone has easy access to Internet so, why would people bother to watch non-sense shows when they can watch wonderful shows on Netflix, Youtube, Viu, Viki, Amazon, etc. which brings out fresh & wonderful content that TV is still afraid of experimenting with. One who has watched Indian shows for years can easily predict the storyline, dialogues, reactions of most of the typical shows & that has become boring now. Now when people have the choice, then why not explore it for our best interests.

Edited on:04 February 2018 at 11:16am

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Posted on: 04 February 2018 at 5:17am
Most of the content on Indian TV is quite regressive and revolves somehow or other around similar kind of trend. Similar conspiracies, tears and what not. As a viewer, I am relieved by the trend of web series which have so much diverse content to offer and is more progressive. One can choose any show as per his/her liking. So definitely if I have to choose I will choose web series over Indian TV shows. Not to forget, programs on our TV channels are like never ending sagas. After a while, the original objective of show is lost and the shows get tangled in same mess of repeated tracks. I'd rather watch a show with finite episodes but which telecasts every year as Season 1 and Season 2, with fresh ideas/tracks.

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Posted on: 04 February 2018 at 1:12am
The content on television is very regressive. Everyone needs change and people are accepting digital platforms now to have logical content.

But right now their are still many people who find the content good and thats why tv isnt developing much.

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Posted on: 03 February 2018 at 7:21pm
Being a youth still I don't connect with webseries and never will. So television will stay forever and not digital for long , digital has very small audiences and nobody talk about them as much we talk about television and films

Edited on:03 February 2018 at 11:34pm

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