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From Zee to Star: Top 5 television channels of India

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By Rukma Singh

In today’s day and time, with limitless capital and production capacity dominating the media-scape, newer television channels are springing up with a motive to cater to specific audiences.

For a medium of visual communication to survive, it is essential to be in constant touch with the receivers, i.e, the audience.

No matter how many new channels spring up, there are some that adopted the right proportions of form and content, and managed to carve a niche for themselves.

NewsGram brings to you the five most popular television channels in India:

STAR Plus


What started as an English entertainment channel surprisingly turned into the ultimate Indian favorite. STAR Plus started a legacy in many ways. It was one of the first channels to have HD quality images. It is also responsible for bringing in the ‘once a week’ show format with a show like ‘Ji Pradhan Mantri Ji’. Star plus also has an edge over other channels due to the fact that it is one of the first channels to have started operations. It was in a position to experiment and gauge audience mindsets based on those experiments. It was also in a territory where it could mold the audience’s likes and dislikes.

Star Plus shows are known to have gone on for over 8 years, ‘Kyuki Saas bhi kabhi Bahu thi’ being the biggest example. It took advantage of the fact that television could be used as an escape, especially by women. Thus, Star plus provided an escape. It yielded to the pleasures that humans tend to get amidst conspiracy, romance and scandal.

Zee TV

Zee TV was the first private channel of India. It is known to have started the legacy of reality shows in India with the introduction of ‘Antakshari’, followed by ‘Sa re ga ma pa’. Zee made efforts to cater to as many sections as possible. It had something for everything.

It increased audience base by introducing ‘Disney hour’ to grab the attention of kids. It also gave rise to the concept of cookery shows with Sanjeev Kapoor’s ‘Khana khazana’.

Thus, many of Zee’s shows are known to have given a kickstart to newer concepts that were taken up by other channels.

Colours TV

Colours brought along a whole new different wave in Indian television. While all other channels were showing repetitive ‘Saas-bahu’ drama, Colours brought along a breath of fresh air with its women-centered shows that aimed to liberate women. Shows like ‘Balika Vadhu’ and ‘Laado’ aimed to create awareness about pressing social issues like child marriage and female foeticide. Colours managed to become a threat to the mainstream TV channels in its first year itself, which says a lot about its caliber as a TV channel in a landscape where it is very difficult to make people change their taste.

Presently, Colours is a favorite because of Comedy Nights with Kapil and Big Boss, two shows that have a huge fan base all across the world.

Sab TV

SAB TV is one of the more recent additions to the favorites category. Sab is known to cater especially to the middle-class audiences, providing wholesome family entertainment. It is dominated by comedy shows and is watched mostly during the night after everyone comes home from a hard day at work.

The only negative aspect of Sab happens to be its lack of reality shows and drama based serials. But that’s because Sab TV wants to continue being a sitcom, humor based channel and not walk on the path taken by all other channels.

Sony Entertainment Television

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The two main reasons for the popularity of Sony are CID and Kaun Banega Crorepati. These two shows have been going on for over 10 years and they continue to have the same huge fan base year after year. Covering genres ranging from action, drama, comedy to narrative non-fiction, Sony seeks to celebrate India’s heritage by creating unique and original content within Indian history, folklore and mythology, using a contemporary story-telling format.

Lately, Sony has been facing several losses, both in terms of fans as well as finance. It was because of its loyal audiences that it was able to recuperate with them. However, if it doesn’t work on its situation, it might lose out to newer channels like Life OK, Big Magic, & TV etc, which are rapidly gaining popularity.

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