Earlier, melodramatic TV soaps that go on forever were the norm in India. In the recent times however, there has been a change in Indians and their TV watching habits. People are discovering the magic of streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. More so, because a new problem has come to light. TV channels apparently speed up content to fit more advertisements into the time slot.
The Problem at Hand :
According to a redditor, Comedy Central India was playing shows 15% faster than normal, and Star Movies India about 5%. In the subsequent discussion, many people confessed to have stopped watching TV due to these problematic ads, while many others only watch live matches on the TV. Adding to that is the problem of censorship. Many channels mute out the ‘offensive language’ and some even cut out entire scenes. The people who watch live matches on TV have complained that several channels have L shaped ads that run throughout the match and reduce the screen size by a great deal.
What Streaming Services Have to Offer:
Streaming services have caught the attention of people due to two things. First is the ability to watch your favourite shows at your own time, and second is quality content, which sadly isn’t available on Indian national television anymore. The ad problem seems to be another reason for getting viewers interested.
Amazon Prime has released quite a few original Indian series and even standup comedy specials, like Kenny Sebastian’s Die Trying and Biswa Kalyan Rath’s Biswa Mast Aadmi. Millennials find the content interesting and relatable, and definitely not sped up. Also who wants to watch a slap in slow motion 3 times nowadays? For sports fans, Hotstar streams EPL matches and SonyLiv streams UCL and La Liga.
Cable TV or DTH services like Tata Sky round up a bill of about 500-800 rupees a month, while HD services cost higher. On the other hand, Amazon Prime costs 999 rupees a year while Netflix has three plans: Basic, Standard and Premium that cost ₹500, ₹650 and ₹800 a month respectively. Paying the same (or lesser) amount for better content, lesser ads and flexible viewing time definitely is the better option.
Indian directors/ producers and the heads of Indian GECs are slowly realising the power of the internet, and some of them have launched their own streaming services. For example, Star India releases some of their series both on their channel and Hotstar. Even YouTube has a couple of channels like FilterCopy, Arre Media and Dice Media that have produced original Indian web series, and these are really catching viewers’ attention.
Statistics show that TV viewers have decreased in the past few years, and the speeding up of content, censorship, and more ad time are working together to make it worse. Though more ads mean more sponsorship and therefore more funds for the channel, one cannot help but wonder what would happen to these funds if the channel lost its viewers completely.
You can check out the reddit thread that sparked the discussion HERE.