Doordarshan turns 50

September 19th, 2009  |  Published in Television  |  2 Comments

Doordarshan logoTelevision came to India on September 15, 1959, when the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) gave the government of India $20,000 (Rs 9.7 lakh) and 180 Philips TV sets. The national broadcaster’s head office was a makeshift studio then, and they worked with just a small transmitter.

The Sunday movie and Chitrahar, which showcased Hindi film songs, were the biggest draws in the earlier days – apart from of course, the news bulletins.

It was in the 1980s, after the introduction of color Television on the eve of Asian Games in 1982 that television charged into urban homes, with Hum Log, Buniyaad, Nukkad, Rajni and Udaan keeping families and riveted.

During its 17 month run, Hum Log received over four lakh letters, many of them pleas to not make the characters suffer any more.

It was the entry of private players with the liberalization of broadcast industry in 1991 that changed the fate of television in India forever.

 Over the years

  • 180 the number of television sets in India in 1959-the year television came to India
  • 22,000 the number of family owned television sets in India in 1970
  • 115 million the number of television homes in India today
  • 25 lakh the number of homes that got linked to cable television in the year of its introduction in 1991-92
  • Over 70 million the number of homes with cable television in India today
  • 388 the number of channels in India today
  • 400 million the number of television viewers in India today, second only to USA and China


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