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TV content not keeping pace with technology, say experts
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PUNE: The television industry in India may soon be all about high definition and mobile interactivity, but where content is concerned, it is sadly lacking, said experts speaking at the seminar, New Trends in Television Programming and Broadcasting', at the Film and Television Institute of India on Wednesday.

But whether it's because audiences' are not fussy about what they watch or the lack of advertisers and business for quality content, television programming is, at the end of the day, about TRPs, they said.

Isao Matsufune, who represented a multinational, elaborated on the features of a state-of-the-art high definition camera. "Such high definition technology has picked up in the West. There are buyers for such equipment in India, but it will take time for it to pick up in a big way here," said Matsufune.

The near future could also entail watching content on mobile phones, said M Kasim, from the A J Kidwai Mass Communication Research Centre at Jamia Millia Islamia University, Delhi. "There is a lot of scope for mobile broadcasting to pick up in India as this medium doesn't lack in content. However, there are no government norms that could regulate the content. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has been asking the government to do this, but we haven't seen any standardisation or regulation yet," said Kasim.

"We and other channels are making an effort to create content for HD technology," said C K Jain, a broadcasting engineer at Doordarshan. "Next month, our channel is launching a free channel on direct-to-home service. And we hope everyone benefits from HD in such a way that people don't have to spend more money in installing or reinstalling set-top boxes to accommodate HD content," said Jain.

Academy award-winning sound designer and FTII alumnus, Resul Pookutty, spoke of the wonders of HD technology, via video. "We are gradually moving towards having HD imaging and 5.1 Dolby digital surround sound in households. In the West, cinema and television content are being streamed in homes in such technology. In India, this will take a while to happen and soon there won't be much difference between television and film imaging," said Pookutty.

But content deserves emphasis too, said media critic, Sevanti Ninan. "News is often entertaining and mostly comprises polarised debates," she said. Most importantly, the number of television viewers has remained more or less stagnant as compared to the rise in the number of channels in India in the last 10 years, pointed out senior journalist Dileep Padgaonkar.

It's often difficult for news channels, particularly, to find advertisers, said P K Manvi who represented a private media house. "Crass content often sells well and garners better TRP than good content," he said.

Source: The Times Of India

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