India profile - Media

  • 24 February 2015
  • From the section Asia
Indian Sikh man browses newspaper in shop Image copyright AFP
Image caption India has a burgeoning, multilingual media industry

Indian broadcasting is flourishing and TV and radio outlets are proliferating.

India has more than 150 million TV homes, of which 25% use direct-to-home satellite and 51% receive cable TV. A TV digitisation drive is under way.

There are nearly 800 licensed satellite TV stations. Around half of these are news-based outlets, and news programmes often outperform entertainment output.

Doordarshan, the public TV, operates multiple services, including flagship DD1, which reaches some 400 million viewers.

Multichannel, direct-to-home (DTH) satellite TV is a huge hit. Major platforms Dish TV, Tata-Sky, Sun Direct, Big TV and Airtel Digital TV have millions of subscribers. State-owned Doordarshan Direct runs a free-to-air DTH service.

Music-based FM radio stations abound. But only public All India Radio can produce news programming. AIR's 237 stations reach more than 99% of the population.

India's press is lively and there are around 12,000 newspaper titles. Driven by a growing middle class, newspaper circulations have grown and new titles compete with established dailies.

Journalists operating in areas with armed conflicts do not enjoy the same protections as those in the rest of India, says Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

India online

There were more than 243 million internet users by 2014 ( The online revolution has largely bypassed rural India, a government study has shown.

Facebook is the leading social network, with tens of millions of users. Twitter is used by celebrities, journalists and politicians. Some of them have a million or more followers.

There is no systematic filtering of the web. But the authorities have clashed with leading social networks over censorship of content deemed to be offensive.

The tussle, which involved the courts, pitted the government against Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! and YouTube, among other platforms.

Rules require internet companies to remove "disparaging" or "blasphemous" content if they receive a complaint from an "affected person".

The authorities routinely suspend internet services in Indian-administered Kashmir during times of tension.



  • Doordarshan - public TV; operates national, regional, local and satellite services
  • CNN-IBN - 24-hour news channel in English, partially owned by CNN's parent, Turner International
  • New Delhi TV (NDTV) - operates NDTV 24x7 and NDTV-India news channels in English and Hindi
  • Star TV - operates satellite, cable TV services, owned by News Corporation
  • Zee TV - satellite, cable TV services operated by Zee Group
  • Sony Entertainment TV - commercial channel
  • Aaj Tak - 24-hour news channel in Hindi, owned by India Today magazine group


  • All India Radio - public, operates domestic and external networks
  • Radio One - commercial radio network in six big cities
  • Radio Mirchi - commercial network, stations in Mumbai, Delhi and other cities, mainly music, operated by The Times Group
  • Radio City - commercial, FM stations in Delhi, Mumbai and other cities, owned by News Corporation
  • Red FM - commercial, operated by India Today Group

News agencies

Around the BBC