|CEO,Prasar Bharati'S Tweet introducing the following article|
The elections are starting today and most of us are following the happenings across the length and breath of the country, thanks to minute-to-minute updates on the grand idiot box. It would only be apt to trace the humble beginning of the television at this point.
Television’s introduction in India happened in September 15, 1959 in Delhi. It was an initiative by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which gave the Indian government 20,000 U.S. dollars and 180 Philips TV sets. It is hard to believe that initially programmes were broadcast twice a week for an hour a day. The topics were mostly educational such as community health, citizens’ duties and rights, traffic, road senses etc.
Two years later, a school educational project was included. So far, the operations were restricted to the capital of the nation. In 1972, a second television station was started in Bombay, now Mumbai. In the next three years, stations were set up in Srinagar, Amritsar, Calcutta, Madras and Lucknow.
A major milestone was achieved in 1975 when the government tested the possibilities of satellite based television through the Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE). The transmission was only in black and white but people accepted this new medium more as a source of information than that of entertainment. 17 years after the launch, there was a network of eight television stations. Keen to overcome the administerial challenges of the rapidly growing television system, the government constituted the Doordarshan, the national television network as a separate department under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Earlier, the television broadcasting was part of the All India Radio.
From the year 1976, commercials were introduced on an experimental basis with sponsored programmmes only. The advertisers in public and private sectors preferred advertising with spots (ad space) than sponsoring programmes. After much reviewing, the system of spot advertising was introduced. The rates were fixed for commercial spots in accordance with a graded system of timings, namely, non-peak period, peak-viewing period and supper time.