Kolkata: From world class regional news to entertainment channels Bengal has changed the way it watches TV.
Make up, lights, camera and cue. It's that time every hour when 35 year old Ayan Bhattacharya beams into lakhs of houses across West Bengal. Meanwhile in the news room - the editor in chief takes one last look at the scripts before they are turned into stories…On the rooftop - its breaking news being reported as it happens.
Welcome to 24 hour regional news in West Bengal- a media revolution, that has hit West Bengal in the last 5 years. Journalists like Anjan Bandhopadhyay are being watched across houses in West Bengal and its breaking news reported as it happens
“Bengalis have become global. They want to watch channels like yours and they are more informed - their world view has changed. They want more news, information and want to be in the news environment. So channels are dipping into that interest and growing in numbers,” says Editor Input, 24 Ghanta news channel, Anjan Bandhopadhyay
There are more than dozen regional news channels in West Bengal today - a huge change from the 90's when there were just a couple. But then there are those who are not so optimistic about this boom time on television. 55-year old Saswti Guha Thakurta who has been working with DD once the only news channel in the state Bangla since 1975, is today skeptical.
“Calcutta has always been very conservative. Suddenly there has been a gush of extra energy dressing wise, presentation, and every way. The way we started in 75 was different; we wore only saris the image was like a girl next door. Now somehow I feel you don't identify with these children, it’s a make-believe world and it comes out that this is not what you are,” says Saswati Guha Thakurta.
Local entertainment channels are riding the wave as well. Reality shows in Bengali are the new craze and young directors like Raj Chakraborty are happy to feed that voyeuristic hunger.
“We saw the glamour world in Mumbai and reality TV. Everyone here too wants to participate in them and be a part of it,” says Raj Chakraborty
This is where the young and the not so young come for their 15 minutes of fame. And with new shows being planned practically every week - there's enough space for everyone
Boom time on airwaves has changed the way this state watches television. Today there is more on offer than before and from the looks of it this is just the beginning.