Serial for Breakfast (Part I & II)
Year Released: 1998
Length: 58 minutes
This two-part documentary explores the impact of global satellite television broadcasts on the Indian electronic mediascape. The documentary argues that oversimplistic characterization of the Indian satellite TV scenario as "cultural invasion/imperialism" cannot explain the complex changes that have taken place in the í90s. The interest expressed by multinational media conglomerates (Murdoch's News Corp-owned STAR-TV) in the liberalizing economies of South Asia provides the backdrop to the video. Interviews with key domestic and foreign broadcasters, media advocates, media analysts, and journalists are used to set up an intriguing tale of the local response to the satellite challenge. It points out that in the dust raised over the issue of "foreign invasion," the democratizing influence of new technology, the deregulation of broadcast news, and its impact on future media policy in India are ignored. In the second part, the documentary takes a deeper look at the "boom" industry and the cultural and socio-economic resonances struck by the so-called "information age." It reports a mixed bag--along with the shifting consumption patterns ("here and now" hedonism), there is greater articulation by hitherto unexpressed voices such as women and youth. Though marketed as formulaic pop culture brands, this articulation opens the way for future opportunities. Finally, the documentary reports on emerging media policy in the form of the recently approved legislation granting autonomy to All India Radio and Doordarshan, and the pending Broadcasting Bill. The debate over use of the "airwaves," the documentary contends, has been triggered largely by the interaction between global and local forces. The documentary argues for the cultural resilience displayed by the Indian viewer in the face of large-scale dumping of recycled programming from the West. As such, it argues that the future of "globalization" is tied with issues such as "local content," information needs of the growing economies in the developing world, and a bilateral effort to create appropriate content.