Monday February 19, 2018

Will Indian theatre find relevance beyond Ramlila?

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Theatre

By Ishan Kukreti

Theater as an art form has been there since the early days of civilizations. From ancient Greek and Roman classical theatre to the postmodernist Theater of the Absurd, the stage has remained a constant for centuries-exploring, opining, criticizing.

‘We no longer have the strength to try and glimpse what lies beyond the walls we create to protect ourselves. And that’s exactly why theater should exist and where it should seek its strength. To peek inside where looking is forbidden.’ Polish director Krzysztof Warlikowski said in this year’s World Theatre Day (WTD) International Message.

WTD is celebrated all over the world by the theatre communities on March 27 to commemorate the art. It was started by International Theatre Institute in 1961.

Indian theatre is one of the first in the world to emerge. It has its presence all across the country in some form or the other. Metros have a brimming culture of theatre and an enthusiastic audience. But, apart from the ten odd days of Ramlila, there is not a lot of theatre in the smaller towns and cities. The introduction of cinema halls into the picture has also resulted in divergence of theatre audience to films. Yet cinema can never match the interactive quality of theatre.

‘Theatre will always remain relevant as the things one can say through a play sometimes cannot be said through cinema. It is a process which is very evolved and the way theatre helps actors achieve catharsis along with the audience is something that is absolutely magical.’ said Shilpa Shukla, critically acclaimed Indian actress.

Theatre, apart from being a powerful tool of communication is also a very good activity for personality development. Although a lot of people joining theatre enter it with an intention of using it as a medium to get into films, theatre’s relevance goes beyond being a trampoline.

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Can The ‘Internet’ Replace Television And Newspaper In India?

Even though digital media’s fast-paced and aggressive growth, it is unlikely that it will surpass the television anytime soon

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digital media
According to Google, the internet consisted of 5 Million Terabytes of Data way back in 2010. Pixabay

On the basis of advertisement

In India, as the pattern goes, traditional media (TV and print) are on the top in terms of advertisement. However, in the past decade, the media industry has overseen an aggressive growth of the digital media. In the span of just two years (2010-2012), the internet has overpowered the radio and OOH. Digital media does stay far behind the two giants (television and print) but has been successful in maintaining its growth rate at around 30% until 2014. The growth rate decreased between 2014-2017, but the ‘aggressive growth’ is still sustained.

In 2018, television advertising is expected to grow by 9%, radio 10% and print, cinema, and OOH at 5% each respectively. India will be a leading digital market as internet advertising will grow at 20.4% and it will account for 15.4% market share in the country by 2020. It is however estimated that television will still be the largest media comprising the market share of 39%.

digital media
A recent Samsung survey found that it isn’t reality TV or soaps that make us most likely to tune in but documentaries, with 41% claiming it is their favorite TV genre. Pixabay

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On the basis of consumption

An average Indian adult spends about two-and-a-half hours per day on traditional media (which includes television, radio, and print). On the other hand, the consumption of digital media is one hour per day on average. The reasons range from the poor infrastructure of digital media and its poor circulation or access to the rural population since they recently came into the circuit.

In 2016, the time spent on Television accounted for 56.4% of the total time spent on media consumption. Time spent on print was 7.9%, and radio accounted for 5.3%.

In 2017, adults spent an average time of 1 hour and 18 minutes daily with digital media. Adult’s average time spent per day with digital media grew by 14.4% this year, due to the newly gained access of the rural population to the internet. However, digital media still comes to the second place in contrast to television, on which 2 hours 11 minutes of daily time is spent.

In 2018, it is estimated, Television will account for 52.1% of the time and Digital for 35.9%, while print and radio will decrease to 6.9% and 5.1% respectively.

digital media
Oldest existing newspaper: “Bombay Samachar” – Gujarati daily – published from Mumbai since 1822. Pixabay

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Conclusion

We have witnessed a decline in the market share of print, radio and OOH. Though radio is increasing by 10% due to improved infrastructure, it still lags behind Digital Media. It is estimated that print will too, lag behind Digital media in the coming time. Hence, it will a competition between television and digital media in future.

Even though digital media’s fast-paced and aggressive growth, it is unlikely that it will surpass the television anytime soon.

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