Not So Idiot Box

Every day when I go home from work, I see my mom and dad glued to the TV watching some stupid serial. And this fascination with Marathi serials is not limited to only them. If you go peeping in every house in our village at that time, you will be greeted with the same sight.

It defies my logic, because on the surface, there is nothing in these serials with which these folk can relate to. The characters live in big bungalows, wear designer clothes and jewellery, and talk in English-peppered urban Marathi. They never behave normally or act logically. The setting of the storyline also is mostly urban.

But if you go a bit in the past, it will start to make sense. Cable TV never reached my village. We grew up on Sahyadri and DD National, but that too, very few of us. Only five-six years ago, hardly 10-20 percent families had a TV. It all changed with the entry of Direct to Home services. Last few years have been no less than a revolution as far as TV penetration is concerned. Now, almost every family has a TV, along with a DTH connection.

DTH technology was a game-changer. It suddenly gave people as many options as Cable TV and with better quality of service. DTH operators have periodically slashed the set top box and installation charges. It has only fueled the adoption rate. TV has become an indispensable commodity in every home now.

This is the first time that villagers have a media which they can call their own. It satiates their entertainment and information needs. It actually takes care of all their needs listed in Uses and Gratification theory. Illiteracy is still high and there is no reading culture, so nobody reads newspapers and books. Radio frequency could not make any waves either. Internet is too new to be affordable and accessible to everyone. No wonder TV rules the roost here.


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