There was a time when Doordarshan was the only channel which used to cater for everything: news, information, entertainment, programmes such as debates, and children’s programmes, all in a package in a restricted time frame. Sundays were eagerly awaited for films. Music lovers looked forward to Chitrahaar.
Then came the satellite channels, and they grew bigger by the day. The 24/7 news channels, the sports and entertainment channels, and exclusive music channels, all these now function round the clock. Doordarshan was pushed to a corner. The big players, the entertainment monarchs, ruled the roost, competing with each other luring viewers.
The idiot box became a necessity rather than a luxury. Television grew bigger and bigger, with advanced technologies at its peak. With the ever-increasing number of channels grew the ever-increasing advertisements, a major source of revenue.
The increased advertisements on television has made viewing a painful exercise. No programme can be watched for 10 minutes without breaks. A two-and-a-half hour film would take three-and-a-half hours. A clear one hour would go to the advertisements, mostly meaningless, boring and repetitive.
The various OTT platforms today are threatening the existence of TV channels. OTT platforms allow the viewer to watch even the latest films without a break and have a range of programmes which keep the audience preferring it to entertainment channels.
While news channels and sports channels would survive and resist the challenges, would the entertainment channels survive the competition from OTT platforms?
Have the entertainment satellite channels gone overboard with greed over value? Anything in excess is bad, even viewing, for it could have serious health issues.
Do we need to have programmes round the clock? Should there be no break? Even films in theatres give a five-minute break. How did the satellite channels expect great viewership round the clock? In these days of preferred OTT times, satellite channels are paying a heavy price for their greed.
It may be argued that, except those with smart TVs, OTT platforms would not get a wider audience. But the day is not far off when all televisions would be Internet compatible, and that day the entertainment channels would meet a real challenge.
These are COVID times, the OTT sites get entertainment home, new, interesting and exciting. It helps viewers watch in the comfort of home, free from advertisements.