Mass media is one of the most used channels for communication for the general public. When we refer to mass media, one of the key elements is the television. Television is one of the most effective traditional tools of mass media. Starting from just showing some of the standard satellite channels to come to show channels both public and private channels, it has come a long way.
The television was invented by Philo Fansworth in the year 1921. Television was that media tool which was accessible by every household whether rich or poor in the society. Watching the tv together during dinner time is a habit which is seen several homes still in the age of smartphones and laptops. The transition from monochrome to colour television was another notable development in the development of televisiom and made it an even more attractive commodity to the consumers. Televison provides the viewer with variety of options. Earlier it was limited number of channels operated by the government especially the doordarshan channels. News and sports were the two most aired elements. But as time as gone by the number of channels available has increased exponentially. Especially the number of private regional channels. India is a diverse country with linguistic deifferences which are quite stark and vivid. Having regional channels is something wich increases the marketability of the product. People love to watch shows, serials, and other televised programmes in their mother tongue. Similarly airing the foreign channels and their shows increases the overall value of the television for the viewers.
Even in the modern digital age, there are several people who still turn on the television for getting their everyday news.News is the integral part of television. The news covering all the fields such as politics,current affairs,sports,international news and so on make up the very esence of the television content. Therefore since this is chief source of information for the common public it must not be having any self-serving agenda. But the current scenario is quite different. In most countries around the world television is driven by agenda especially political agenda. News items, even shows and other programmes are structured in such a way that it serves the above mentioned agenda. The ideal scenario should be that media should be free from the state interference but there is a long way to go in that regard. In our country to keep the people more connected to the inner workings of the state there are channels such as Lok sabha and Rajya sabha tv. These channels show the parliament sessions live. They show the arguments and debates of elected representatives in real time. Both these channels have a good viewership. Also another way which has been employed by television to maintain a good viewership has been the airing of religious epics such as Ramyana and the Mahabharta. In a country like India where religious sentiments run high,airing of these classics in the form of episodic serials are a huge hit.
Usually the serials airing on the televison run for years when compared to the digital platforms. The serials on the digital platform are usually for a limited no of episodes and then renewed at a gap of often 8months to one year. But renewing a serial after almost a year is not a viable option when it comes to serials on television. As the television is mass media tool people will lose interest in the programme which is renewed at such a time gap. That is why the producers and the directors span these shows over a time span of multiple years via short daily episodes to keep the audinece hooked to these shows. The importance of the television as a effective tool of mass media has been highlighted even more in the time of pandemic. Even during lockdown people tuned in to their television sets to get a regular update regarding the severe conditions of the pandemic. In order to inculcate the practice of caution it was repeatedly told in the media the various steps of precatuion and what were the necessary steps to be taken if one did get infected. There were televised panel discussions between doctors which imparted pertinent knowledge to the people to combat this deadly virus to the best of their abilities. Number of infected and number of deaths were regularly updated. Although the bigger picture was horrifying it gave the people a clear idea regarding the extremity of the situation. Similarly television also performs such events during elections. Elections are a event which always creates a widespread interest in the nation. On the day the results are announced ,people are glued to their television sets where the counting is shown in real time, along with parallel reactions of the members of the party who are there in the studio. In all the television converts a political process into multimedia package of entertainment which is avidly viewed by the mass audience.
The technology related to television has also increased by leaps and bounds. Earlier the monochrome CRT televisions are a thing of the past. Now in keeping pace with the samrtphone smart tvs have also emerged. Having these tv sets with LED screens is now a thing of stature. The channels are also available in the HD medium which gives the viewers an better experience altogether. Nowadays subscription packages have the choice of selecting which means that people only subscribe to those channels which they want to view. Television sets nowadays also have the feature to be synchronised with our smartphones. One can access what they have on their phone through their television. Chips and drives can be inserted in the tv to transfer files and content like a computer. The amalgamation of various technologies has benefitted media to a large extent.One can watch the shows on the digital platforms on the television via this feature. This gives the viewer to enjoy streamable content on the television and have the viewing experience because of the larger screen. Movies which have been released in the recent past are now displayed on the tvs much quicker than earlier. This ensures that movie is watched by the mass audience quickly. Television is more effective in terms of media tools because of the use of the pictures. That is why every picture is carefully vetted,edited made sure that it is fit for viewing and after that it is aired. Pictures often convey strong messages so displaying of them should be done with the utmost care and precision. The television makes sure that there is watchable content for all age groups. Just like there is news serials, shows, for the older age groups there is host of content for the kids in the form of animated cartoon channels and other creative content. Nowadays it is a fact that kids are more engaged to phones but the preceeding generations will attest to the fact that there was no lack of entertainment from tv when they were kids. Sports viewing has been taken to a new standard through television. Sports was one of the initial elements of viewership in television. Earlier only the Indian games were shown on the doordarshan channels. Now like everything various sports from various nations are aired including the global events such as the cricket and football world cups and the olympics. Lastly it can be said that it is true in the current era of digital advancement television has taken the backseat but it was and still is one of the best tools in the mass media which caters to the needs of the mass audience.
By Subhechcha Ganguly
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