Though it has been around for 50 years now, the last decade has so far been the most defining period in the tube’s history. It was during this time when TV gave its big brother Bollywood a run for its money and also set new trends
As one stands on the cusp of an end and the beginning of a new decade, in a country where television is promised as an election sop and its health minister terms it as a contraceptive, one better believe that size does not matter, reports PTI.
From shaky, snowy, blurred pictures on bulky TV sets to digital quality output on flat screens, the tube world is something to look out for now.
Though it has been around for 50 years now, the last decade has so far been the most defining in its history. It was during this time when TV gave its big brother, Bollywood, a run for its money and also set new trends.
This silent revolution began one night quietly at 10:30pm on Star Plus, in the early 2000s, when a complete nondescript cast and crew went on air with their serial 'Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabi Bahu Thi'. And as they say, the rest is history.
The soap went on to become the longest-running serial in the history of television. It single-handedly changed the course of TV and definition of entertainment in the country.
The homely, docile but assertive desi bahu, Tulsi, played by then small-time actress Smriti Irani soon became a national obsession. Edits and obits were being written on her on-screen hubby Mihir’s (played by Amar Upadhaya) demise in the serial. Audiences forced the serial's producer Ekta Kapoor to resurrect his character. And again another new trend was born.
Terming the last decade as the "most significant" for the TV industry, Smriti Irani says today it is offering a lot more job opportunities as well as variety to the audience. "In terms of creativity, production values (over) the last ten years have been extremely significant," Ms Irani told PTI.
TV was not offering solace or bread to these little-known actors alone. Bollywood mega-star, Amitabh Bachchan, in search of megabucks and the limelight which had deserted him then, reinvented himself with Siddhartha Basu's game show 'Kaun Banega Corepati' in 2000. The KBC show revived Mr Bachchan’s movie career too.
Like his other movie dialogues, Big B mouthing 'Nau Baj Gaye Kya...?' and 'Lock Kiya Jaye...?' once again caught the fancy of an entertainment-crazy nation. Needless to say, the show became an instant hit and went on to become a pioneer in the concept of non-script shows. Some years later, stars like Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan also aped him.
If Mr Bachchan graced the small screen, its ruling stars like Rajeev Khandewal, Amnaa Sharif, Mona Singh and Amar Upadhaya were busy trying their luck in the big world of Bollywood. The success story of the Indian TV industry which started with the launch of Zee TV, the first private channel, was carried forward by Sony and Star. Their regional brethren too mushroomed and the entertainment-starved audience started facing a problem of plenty—from daily soaps to reality shows.
Sameer Nair, chief executive of NDTV Imagine, says that the highlight of this decade has been the spurt in regional, sports and news channels. "Content is evolving. We are still doing daily soaps with reality shows which are not based on song-and-dance anymore," he told PTI.
As Mr Nair said, it was not only the number of general entertainment channels (GECs) going up. Indians, who till then were used to bland news, very much akin to dull documentaries, suddenly woke up to a new phenomenon called 'breaking news'.
As the news channels beamed images of an ageing MK Karunanidhi being dragged out of his house in the dead of the night, twin towers in the US coming crashing down on 9/11, the life and psyche of a common Indian was all set to undergo a sea change forever.
While the TV phenomenon did wonders for people like Ramdev Baba and Rakhi Sawant, it was also instrumental in bringing the perpetrators of the Jessica Lall murder case or the very recent Ruchika molestation case to book. Who can forget the tiny Prince who fell into a bore well and had the entire nation glued to the TV praying for his safety?
One major reason for TV's growing popularity as per Smriti Irani was the variety it was offering. "While earlier, the viewers had few choices, today there is a variety to choose from," the 33-year-old actor said and added that the number of consumers and therefore advertising content on TV has gone up considerably.
Another highlight was the successful broadcast of the IPL (Indian Premier League). But as new trends came and went, audiences stuck with shows like celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor's 'Khanaa Khazana' and 'CID', 'Boogie Woogie' and 'SaReGaMaPa'.
Meanwhile, channels like Discovery and National Geographic too were doing good work, finding viewership.
As is always the case, everything is not hunky-dory in the small world. Charges of obscenity have forced closure of seven channels, several others are facing notice for 27 controversial reality shows including 'Iss Jungle Se Mujhe Bachhao', 'Raaz Pichle Janam Ke' and 'Sach Ka Samna'.
Still, Ms Irani feels that presently, there is a lot of stiff competition in the TV industry. "As one and all are trying their luck here, like fortunes change every Friday in Bollywood, fortunes change here every Wednesday, when TRPs are out. Right now, there is no one star, one show, or channel which enjoys all attention," she said.
Call it an idiot box or anything else, today, small is the new big. One may love it or hate it, no one can ignore TV.
Facebook has sent a 'cease-and-desist' letter to another website, Seppukoo.com, that deletes profiles, friends and other information on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn for users who provide their account information
Social network website Facebook has said that it is blocking a website called 'Web 2.0 Suicide Machine' that helps users delete their social network profiles, reports PTI.
The number one social network also said that it had sent a 'cease-and-desist' letter to another website, Seppukoo.com, which also helps you erase your virtual identity from the Internet.
The Web 2.0 Suicide Machine site, which features a hangman's noose on its homepage, deletes profiles, friends and other information on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn for users who provide their account information.
"This machine lets you delete all your energy sucking social-networking profiles, kills your fake virtual friends, and completely does away with your Web2.0 alter ego," it says.
Facebook, in a statement to AFP, said the suicide site was in violation of Facebook rules.
"Facebook provides the ability for people who no longer want to use the site to either deactivate their account or delete it completely," the social network service provider said.
"Web 2.0 Suicide Machine collects login credentials, which is a violation of our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SRR)," it said.
"We've blocked the site's access to Facebook as is our policy for sites that violate our SRR," Facebook said. "We're currently investigating and considering whether to take further action," it added.
The coming decade will be dominated by accessibility and compatibility of technologies and devices
The past decade has ushered in a world of multimedia communication through an incredible choice of wired and wireless devices. The coming decade, however, will be dominated by issues of accessibility and compatibility of technologies and devices. For instance, today you need ‘compatible’ hardware to run the latest version of the operating system (OS) from Apple, Inc—the Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. And there are limitations to running any other OS, like Windows or Linux, on the same machine.
The Internet has provided us with an amazing network of clever humans and fast computers. To use this network to its full potential, we need to improve accessibility. To achieve this, we need devices that are smaller and cheaper and that can provide faster communication and enable better services like healthcare, education and e-governance.
Mobile technologies have leapfrogged a couple of ‘generations’ over the past decade. You can set up a video conference on a 3G (third-generation) network and save time and travel costs, but compatibility of devices and technologies remains a major challenge to unleashing the full potential of 3G.
Today, when you buy a ‘smartphone’, it comes with a pre-loaded OS. It is not possible to buy a mobile handset and install an OS of your choice. In the not-too-distant future, you can, perhaps, buy Apple's iPhone and install Google’s Android OS or Windows Mobile. This kind of flexibility will radically change the dynamics of the mobile-phone market.
The Internet is undoubtedly the biggest invention in centuries and to fully unlock its power, we will need compatible ‘smart’ devices in our homes and workplaces.
According to Wikipedia, a smart device is one that is “digital, active, computer networked, user reconfigurable and that can operate to some extent autonomously.” The term can also refer to any computing device that exhibits some properties of ubiquitous computing, including artificial intelligence. Take, for example, a ‘smart fridge’ that can ‘order’ milk and vegetables from your grocer without your intervention. Such refrigerators are already available from companies like Samsung, LG and Whirlpool, but they are currently too expensive for the ‘mass market’.
Nanotechnology is also set to become ubiquitous in the next decade. It has the potential to create many new materials and devices with a vast range of applications in medicine, electronics, etc. Today, there are many products that are sold as ‘nanotech’ devices. However, according to a study by David Berube, funded by the National Science Foundation, much of what is sold in the market as ‘nanotechnology’ is, in fact, a recasting of straightforward materials science, which is leading to a “nanotech industry built solely on selling nanotubes, nanowires, and the like” and that will “end up with a few suppliers selling low-margin products in huge volumes.”
Some very innovative technologies have emerged over the past decade that have transformed the way we live and communicate, but there is still much to be done to improve accessibility and compatibility of devices and technologies.