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
, 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.
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