Kidnapped, and forced to go local

Kuch aur hee hai*

It was long long ago, and far far away.

Star TV had tried to sell English language TV programmes to India on its channel Star Plus, but the Indian people preferred to watch television in Hindi and other Indian languages.  Yes, more than 100 million Indians can speak English – but fewer than 250,000 (according to Wikipedia) use English as their first language.  These may be the chattering classes, but there aren’t many of them. And if they share their one TV with grandma, then English language TV is outvoted. No contest.

The solution?  Turn Star Plus into a Hindi channel.

But make it look like a plot by middle class Indians, kidnapping an English executive of Star TV and force him to dump the English schedule and put on Hindi programmes.  He starts off a little groggy, reading whatever they tell him, then gets into the idea.  Might as well be the actual English colleague whose job was to find out what India wanted.  Job done, big tick… programmes in English.  You’ve seen Slumdog Millionaire?  That was Star Plus.

And look at TV now. TV channels for every taste, and in a city like London, literally hundreds of channels available in dozens of languages.  Something’s been lost, but a lot has been gained

And there’s a wider message, TV executives may think they’re in charge, but they really aren’t.  The audience is in charge, now more than ever.

* It’s really something else, in Hindi

With thanks to Mark Slocombe at Creation Video for help with editing the clips together.


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