Saturday, 13 February 2016

Why are Ethiopia and India so Innovative?

Philip Morris: "...Probably IndiaandEthiopia because they are very innovative people who find the most amazing ways of doing things with little funding." (Missing Episodes Group Facebook Q&A)


 As I stated in a previous post about Ethiopia  the country had imported 60% of its programmes up until the early to mid-seventies. Then after the Marxist regime came into power in Ethiopia more and more programming became locally produced having a detrimental effect on the quality of programmes being offered by ETV. By the nineties, an incredible 98% of ETV's output was locally sourced material. An achievement of some merit in terms of self-sufficiency, but utterly dire in terms of programme quality.


Compare this with India. TV was introduced in the late-1950s by All India Radio, but on a very small scale. It was only by 1972 that things started to take off and viewing hours were increased to more than the usual five with seven stations broadcasting on a regional basis. There had also been numerous fallouts with the BBC over various issues and ITV reps had started visiting the country.

"A regular service with a daily news bulletin was started in 1965. In 1961, the broadcasts were expanded to include a school educational television project. In time, Indian films and programs consisting of compilation of musicals from Indian films joined the program line-up as the first entertainment programs. A limited number of old U.S. and British shows were also telecast sporadically. The first major expansion of television in India began in 1972, when a second television station was opened in Bombay. This was followed by stations in Srinagar and Amritsar (1973), and Calcutta, Madras and Lucknow in 1975. Relay stations were also set up in a number of cities to extend the coverage of the regional stations." -

In 1970, production of TV sets in India climbed from a mere 16k (with 60k in operation) to 40k in 1972 (with 180k in operation). In 1964, Africa had 490k still amazingly small but well ahead of India a good six years earlier. In 68/69 India had 12k TV sets and Cambodia had 50k; Singapore 131k. Cambodia was a bigger market than India at that time.

"In the decade 1981-90, the number of transmitters increased from 19 to 519. There was also a steady increase of the Television Centres which produced limited hours of local programmes. During other timings all the transmitting stations, including those located in Studio Production centres, were relaying the programmes from New Delhi, and those limited hours of television was also mostly in the language of Hindi, which the southern Indian states did not really understand, leaving a big gap in communication."

We can see here: that India in 63/64 bought 17hrs of COI and 9 hrs of BBC with no ITV purchases listed at all. Totalling a mere 26hrs of UK programming for that year.

So why were India and Ethiopia Mentioned?

Simply because they both had firm commitments to producing locally TV which was immeasurably hard and that is an amazing achievement and qualifies them as places that would most benefit from TIEA's services. Although, I think Ghana was much more organised but never became the massive market that it later did in the eighties and nineties. Also, this quote, from a US film expert, perhaps sheds light on why TIEA's service may be so vital to the country:

With several countries, including India, warming up to the concept of film preservation and restoration, do you see it emerging as a possible career option in future? "Yes, it is. Because young people who will pick up the art of preserving and restoring films today, are going to possess skills that are extremely rare and important. The person who will be able to understand both the analog and the digital part of film preservation, is going to be very much in demand because there will be a need of such people." -

India could eclipse China as a superpower. China has a lead in manufacturing but the great uptake of the Franca Lingua English in India which has drawn in so many call centres means that they are more suitable for banking and financial services.

And here is a clipping from the Times of India 5th of October 1972: