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TV losing out to apps, YouTube

With apps and online TV streaming becoming popular, the idiot box is facing tough competition from new mediums

tv Updated: Nov 25, 2013 20:54 IST
Sneha Mahale and Kavita Awaasthi
Sneha Mahale and Kavita Awaasthi
Hindustan Times
Television shows,Indian TV,Bigg Boss

On March 15, 2012, YouTube announced the launch of Indian TV content on the video-sharing website. Over 19,000 episodes of 300 programs were made available in six languages — Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Gujarati and Punjabi. On their blog,, their post said, “India is one of world’s largest producers of TV series… we wanted to offer our Indian viewers an updated shows page at to help them better follow serials they love and even discover new favourites.”

Back then, not many were impressed. However, cut to 2013, and it’s a whole new story. These days, online channels and apps offering movies and TV shows are a rage among telly lovers. “Our subscriber base has witnessed a steady rise on YouTube. Almost 35% of the consumption happens through mobile devices,” says Nikhil Madhok of Star Plus.

Vital stats
According to a recent study, the Indians prefer consuming long-form videos such as movies or TV shows on their cell phones, despite the cost and buffering concerns. “Eighty nine per cent of all respondents say that they would watch their favourite movies on their cell phones if they were made available,” the survey said.

That explains the sudden explosion of apps that provide a TV-viewing experience. So the Tata Sky app, available for Android and iOS, allows its existing customers to watch over 50 channels on their mobiles for Rs 60 per month.

On the other hand, Spuul, an online streaming service for Indian movies and TV shows, has joined hands with IndiaCast, to offer shows from various channels to its subscribers. The platform also has popular shows such as Mahabharat and Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai along with a premium library of movies, evergreen TV shows and the latest blockbusters.

Social networking
There are also apps like iCouchApp that bring social networking into the life of television junkies. “The online medium provides viewers with the opportunity to watch varied content from around the world. It opens up multiple avenues for television channels to expand their audience base,” says Vivek Srivastava of Colors. However, he does admit that the good old idiot box will not fall behind so soon or so easily. “There are 750 million TV viewers in India, as compared to 125 million internet and 50 million smartphone users. We are still away from viewership shifting from TV to laptops and mobile devices,” says Srivastava.

Number gain
YouTube subscribers for TV channels
Set India
Zee TV
Star Plus

Source: as of November 12, 2013

Fact check
* Indian TV shows and movies also have an international viewer base in the US, UK, North America, Middle East and South East Asia.
* Some shows are available in multimedia formats that give a quick gist on certain platforms, but you need to subscribe to a particular channel’s app to see them. In the case of popular shows like Mahabharat or Balika Vadhu, viewers have access to full episodes.
* Shows that top TV rating charts like Diya Aur Baati Hum on Star Plus or Jodha Akbar on Zee TV, tend to be favourites on other platforms as well.
* Reality shows like Bigg Boss, Nach Baliye and Dance India Dance, have a loyal fan following, as does Kapil Sharma’s show, Comedy Nights With Kapil.
* However, daily soaps like Bade Achhe Lagte Hain and Saraswatichandra, which do not figure in the top 10 shows on the TRP charts, are a rage on YouTube.

(Based on the number of subscribers and likes across platforms as of November 12, 2013)

First Published: Nov 25, 2013 20:50 IST