Smart phones kick out ‘idiot box’

Chennai: The recently-concluded IPL, football World Cup and the ongoing Asian Games and India-England cricket series share one thing in common. Guess what? They have garnered record views on phones which is an indication that youngsters prefer digital platforms to watching television. Does this mean a nail in the coffin for television channels?

Market analysts say that 65 per cent of India is under the age of 35 and they are largely digital natives (born and brought up with Internet). These youngsters have developed cold feet towards cliched and cringe-worthy soap shows on the small screen and, hence, engage themselves in digital platform which provides them with plenty of entertainment especially ‘on the go’.

A die-hard sports lover, Krishnan, says, “I don’t remember the last time I saw a match or non-stop coverage of an important issue on my television. My mobile is enough. Television has become an engaging tool for older generation.”

Speaking to ‘News Today’, software developer Narasimhan, says, “We are the world’s fastest-growing Internet market. Internet data is cheap here and there is a steady increase in number of smart phone users. Their penetration to interior villages is surprising. Also the Central government’s campaign for ‘Digital India’ will add value to it.”

He adds, “Not just sports, today, various digital platforms like Netflix, Amazon are offering original content that appeal to youngsters. They even speak things that we until now considered taboo to discuss in public. Even prominent actors are part of such shows. This just goes to show its surging popularity. Several of the players have hired content writers and a creative team to come out with several shows that would appeal to their target audience.” 

“Popular channels like Sun TV have come on the digital platform to cash in on this craze,” he said.

According to recent statistics, “This industry, which is growing at over 30 per cent annually, almost three times higher than what television has managed.”

But cable TV operators say a different story. “We give people over 500 channels. They have plenty to choose from. And in many cases, we offer prompt customer service. We will stay for long no matter what.”

“Digital platforms have changed the way we see movies here. A newly-released Tamil movie will hit the platform in a couple of weeks of its theatrical release. It can be seen any time of the day and sitting anywhere. Interestingly, it has won the support of the industry,” says film critic Shankar.

In 2012, when digital platform was in a very nascent stage,  actor Kamal  Haasan said, “Like satellite television, releasing movies on DTH is an evolutionary growth. The monetisation is very well-planned. This is the way to go forward.”

Today, those in Tamil cinema call him a visionary though they opposed him then.

“The way forward is digital. Everything is within my hands. This is the future,” sums up a youngster.

MAJOR PLAYERS

Amazon Prime, NetFlixJioHotStar, Eros Now, Zee5, VootSonyLiv, ALT Balaji, Sun Nxt.

IN NUMBERS 

There are over 600 television channels and nearly 50 digital platforms in India. The digital platforms are witnessing 30 per cent growth, compared to small screen every year, in terms of viewership.

M BHARAT KUMAR