Majority of young Indians no longer watch television

Smartphones have replaced TV. Today is World Television Day

A recent survey by The Mint and YouGov shows that more millennials are watching online entertainment (48 per cent) than cable TV (43 per cent). The survey covered Indian audiences. In the last four years, around 30 OTT platforms have launched here.

Different generations remember the television differently. Some of us have lived a large chunk of our lives without it because it was something that only the well-to-do had access to, a status symbol.

Most millennials and Gen Z grew up in homes with a TV; something that was like any other piece of furniture in the house.

But in the recent past, TV viewing habits have shifted with the piece of technology that many living rooms were anchored around now starting to slowly disappear from homes altogether.

Malavika Shiv, a student, says that even though the hostel she stays at has a TV with cable connection, no one uses it. “When entertainment of our choice is available on our phones whenever we want it, it seems like too much of a hassle to figure out what’s on TV and plan our day accordingly,” she says.

While Malavika grew up watching the idiot box, Shruthi Gowda didn’t. The digital consultant says that she didn’t have one at home until she was well into her teens. And even then TV was a weekend activity.

“When I moved to college, my roommates and I would constantly bicker over who got to watch what. We finally decided to give up on it completely,” she says. She adds that this was at a time when streaming platforms were non-existent so getting rid of the TV actually meant there was no alternative. “We didn’t miss anything. In fact I’d say it was much more peaceful and quiet. I realised that I used TV to drain my time and with it out of the way, I had more time to do other activities,” she says. She still doesn’t have a TV and turns to Netflix and Youtube for entertainment.

Nirel Ethel, a student, says that she too made the switch when she entered college. “In my first year, I stayed in a paying guest accommodation which had a TV. But because of my schedule, I had no time to watch it,” she says. So when she shifted into an apartment later, she and her friends made a conscious decision to not buy one, “It wasn’t something that was needed. We all had our individual devices on which we watched shows and movies.”

Programmes are more readily available and portable now. You don’t have to plan your day around the timings of your favourite show. The identity of television has changed, though whether for the worse or better is still debatable.

Whatever the future holds for television, it seems to have lost the charm it once had; it’s ability to gather the full family on a couch is soon turning into a memory.

City folks look back at the small screen

From comedy programmes to cookery shows, Bengalureans have still not forgotten their favourite television shows from the yesteryears. Many say that television time was synonymous with quality family time.

Usha Rani Y, a homemaker, says her favourite Kannada programmes were the ones directed by T N Seetharam, such as ‘Mayamruga’ (jointly directed with P Sheshadri and Nagendra Sha) and ‘Manvatara’.

“T N Seetharam is popular for his courtroom scenes. His shows were completely different from the typical ‘saas-bahu’ serials. Other comedy serials that I liked were ‘Paapa Pandu’, and ‘Danda Pindagalu’ that was about middle-class unemployed youth,” she says.

Usha lists ‘Silli Lalli’ as another personal favourite. “In Hindi, ‘Ramayana’ was a favourite. My husband used to record it on video cassettes.”

Ramanand K P, senior regional sales manager with a pharmaceutical company, recollects, “I remember that during the 1982 Asian Games, many people came home to watch it. Apart from this, I would watch ‘Star Trek’ on Sundays, and ‘Buniyaad’ and ‘Hum Log’.”

His favourite show was ‘Malgudi Days’. He says, “I was in school then and I loved Swamy and friends. They were absolutely cute and I could relate to the show as I was a mischievous child myself. I hailed from the Malanad region and that was another connection I had with the show.”

Janaki Raman, a retired teacher, says that the television was a common source of family entertainment and information in the 90s.

“My daughters and I would enjoy ‘Daawat’, a cookery show by Jiggs Kalra. Sanjeev Kapoor’s ‘Khana Khazana’ was another favourite,” she says.

Balraj R, a retired banker, listed out a number of shows that remind him of the 80s and 90s.

His favourite Kannada serials included ‘Danda Pindagalu’, ‘Mayamruga’, ‘Vatara’, ‘Crazy Colonel’, ‘Paapa Pandu’, ‘Silli Lalli’, ‘Manvantara’ and ‘Manthana’.

In Hindi, he watched ‘Hum Log’,
‘Circus’, ‘Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi’, ‘Hum Paanch’, ‘Nukkad’, ‘Tol Mol Ke Bol’ and ‘Wagle ki Duniya’, among others. “They showed middle-class Indian families, which was relatable. I preferred watching comedies as they were good stressbusters,” he adds.

Sarath Chandra Mouli, an IT professional, says he loved watching the series ‘Param Vir Chakra’ and ‘Giant Robot’ on Doordarshan.

“Param Vir Chakra was a favourite as I loved patriotic shows. The robot serial was a lot of fun to watch.”

Watching programmes on television also meant a break from studies for a few hours on Sundays, he adds.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)