Television came to India on September 15, 1959 with experimental transmission from Delhi. It was a modest beginning with a makeshift studio and low power transmitter.
The objective was to find out what it can achieve in community development and formal education. The funding of $20,000 and equipment was offered by United States.
One hundred and eighty teleclubs were set up within the range of 40 Kilometers of transmitter. Every club was provided with a television set by UNESCO. All India Radio provided the engineering and the programme professionals.
The Akashvani Auditorium was converted into the studio from where the regular programmes of Indian TV were put on the air although the first experimental programmes were telecast from a makeshift studio in Akashvani Bhavan.
The service itself was also known as a Pilot project, aided by UNESCO, because the programmes, put out on mere two days a week, was intended to be experimental in nature to test the efficacy of television medium in carrying relevant and useful messages of social education to the power section of society.
In 1961 television programmes for teachers were started. A daily one hour service with a news bulletin was started in 1965 including entertainment programmes. In 1967 rural programmes and Krishi Darshan were started for farmers in 80 village teleclubs in Delhi and Haryana.
In 1972 TV services were extended to a second city Mumbai. By 1975 Calcutta, Chennai, Srinagar, Amritsar and Lucknow also had TV stations. In 1975-76 the satellite Instructional Television Experiment brought TV to 2,400 villages in the most in accessible and the least developed areas for one year.
From 1976, television was separated from All India Radio and constituted a new body under a new banner called as Doordarshan. At present, Doordarshan is one of the media units of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India.
In 1982, a regular satellite link between Delhi and other transmitters was established to facilitate the introduction of the National Programme. With this the era of fast expansion of TV services through low power transmitters was also heralded. The following are some other land marks in the history of Doordarshan:
1976 Jan. 1 Commercials on TV
1976 April 1 Doordarshan separated from All India Radio and given a separate banner – Doordarshan
1982 Aug. 15 Colour TV introduced
1984 July 15 First Mass Appeal Programme – Humlog
1984 Nov. 19 Second channel at Delhi
1986 Aug 9 First Regional network.
1993 April 1 the Metro entertainment channel.
1993 Aug. 15 Five DD Satellite channels
1994 Aug. 15 Major restructure – DD-1 to DD-13.
At present, Doordarshan telecasts programmes on nineteen channels. These channels supplement and complement each other. DD-1 is the primary channel, the flag-ship of Doordarshan.
The Programmes are addressed to the entire country. There are three components in these programmes – National, Regional and Local. The National and Higher Education TV programmes are relayed by all territorial DD-1 transmitters.
The regional component is separate for each state and is mainly in the language of that state. The metro entertainment channel targets at urban viewers, particularly younger
These programmes are relayed in 46 cities. DD 3 is a composite service and telecasts three feature films each day, covers sports in the evenings and puts out a composite programme of culture, current affairs and business news in prime time.
DD-4 to DD-13 channels is ten Regional language channels. Each channel telecasts two types of programmes. The Regional service and additional entertainment programmes, DD-14 to DD-17 telecast the programmes for four Hindi speaking states.
DD India has 18 hours of programmes. It is accessible in more than half the world. DD-CNNI is a channel of news and current affairs.
Commercial advertisements were introduced on Doordarshan in January 1976 and sponsorships of programmes were allowed in 1984.
The popular programmes of Doordarshan created for the first time a national market for consumer goods which could be reached by manufacturers with limited resources. Doordarshan continues to be the most effective medium for advertising at minimum cost.
The major coverage’s of Doordarshan (1997) include world cup cricket matches, exit poll telecast, the confidence vote, union and state budgets, Olympics-96, Miss Universe Pageant, Rathyatra, natural calamities of airplane crash in Haryana, cyclones in Andhra Pradesh, fire accident in Orissa and so on.
Salient features of reports and recommendations of working group committees and projects.