The Early Beginnings of Indian Television

Television broadcasting was born out of the government run All India Radio which was run by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The television network was expected to serve the government, as the radio network which preceded it in achieving political integration, economic development and social modernization.

Broadcasting from Delhi in September 1959 as part of All India Radio's services, programs were broadcast twice a week for an hour a day on such topics as community health, citizensí duties and rights, and traffic and road sense. In 1961 the broadcasts were expanded to include a school educational television project. In time, Indian films and programs consisting of compilation of musicals from Indian films joined the program line-up as the first entertainment programs. A limited number of old U.S. and British shows were also telecast sporadically.


Television services were separated from radio in 1976 when the government instituted the DooDarshan, the National Television Network of India. The government found itself running a television network of eight television stations covering a population of 45 million spread over 75,000 square kilometers.

The advent of advertising played a significant role on DooDarshan, as television programming saw a shift from educational and informationa programs to entertainment programs. The commercialization of Doordarshan saw the development of soap operas, situation comedies, dramas, musical programs, quiz shows and the like. By 1990 Doordarshan's revenues from advertising were about $300 million, accounting for about 70% of its annual expenditure.

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