cable TV was legalized in 1999, the Bhutanese government launched
its own homegrown station, the Bhutan
Broadcasting Service, to counteract the dozens of Indian
and American channels flooding people's homes. Cable service
providers are required to carry the BBS signal wherever possible
to encourage people to watch the local station. But the BBS
offers only two hours of programming per day, from 7:00 to 9:00
p.m., making it almost impossible to compete with 24-hour news,
sports and movie channels. Check out the BBS's programs, read
about one Bhutanese family's can't-miss shows, and learn about
the film industry that rivals Hollywood.
This weekly TV listing describes the BBS's two-hour-per-day
code for commercial advertisement
Features general rules of conduct for advertising, including
banning any advertising that undermines national sovereignty,
derides any race or nationality, or contains any vulgar or suggestive
Rinzy Dorji, co-owner of Bhutan's largest cable company, Sigma
Cable, provided FRONTLINE/World with his estimate of
the 11 most-watched channels in Bhutan:
Decides What's On?
gets the same cable package that its neighbor India receives,
and cable operators like Rinzy Dorji negotiate with Indian channel
providers to acquire a particular channel. Bhutanese cable operators
complained in an article in Bhutan's only newspaper, Kuensel,
that these foreign channel providers have taken advantage of
the competitive situation in Bhutan, forcing them to bargain
for certain channels and subjecting them to arbitrary rate hikes.
TV: Hard Times? (Kuensel, August 10, 2001)
Family Tunes In
Tshewang Dendup, producer for the Bhutan Broadcasting
Service and co-producer of "The Last Place"
for FRONTLINE/World, interviewed a Bhutanese
man about his children's favorite TV programs and the
Indian soap opera his wife cannot miss. The following
is an excerpt from their interview:
My younger son loves Cartoon Network.
He likes Popeye the Sailor and Tom and Jerry and my
daughter has to like whatever he likes because he is
the elder one. ... My eldest son who is studying computer
applications and is 19 years old watches MTV.
My wife watches Kasautii Zindagii Kay, which comes at
9 p.m. It is an Indian soap serial about a guy and girl,
both working in different news organizations. They have
a love affair. The boy's mother does not like the girl.
Family pressures make the guy marry another girl but
the guy somehow still likes the previous girl. Due to
some misunderstanding created by the boy's family, his
previous lover starts to hate him. But of course, unbeknownst
to the boy and his family, the girl has a child. She
becomes a popular journalist because she comes up with
all the popular investigative stories.
My wife has to watch every day and every episode. But
I watch the BBS broadcast, which comes daily from seven
to nine p.m. ... I make my family watch the BBC because
it makes them know who is who and what is happening
in Thimphu and around the country.
Hooked on Kasautii Zindagii Kay
soap opera Kasautii Zindagii Kay consistently
ranks among the top-watched Indian programs, as seen
on this weekly AC Nielson rating chart: Indiantelevision.com's
Zindagii Kay on the Star Channel
This Web site features background information and a
discussion forum for the popular Indian soap opera.
Soap Traverses the Beaten Path
This article gives a plot summary of Kasautii Zindagii
Kay. (Tribune India, November 11, 2001)
Bollywood Holds its Own
American television networks rank high among the Bhutanese people,
Indian networks featuring Indian films, news and soap operas
are just as popular. India's gigantic film industry, known as
"Bollywood," is wildly popular in Bhutan. Because of India's
proximity to Bhutan, Bollywood is more culturally familiar to
the Bhutanese than Hollywood. Some Bhutanese also speak Hindi,
making it easier for them to understand Indian films. Producing
more films than its Los Angeles counterpart, Bollywood--famous
for its cinematic extravaganzas--shows no signs of slowing down.
This online radio piece on the Boston-based National Public Radio affiliate WBUR
discusses the rising popularity of Bollywood with an authority
of the Indian film industry, Nupur Kohli.
North America: Bollywood's Biggest Consumer
This report on NPR's All Things
Considered examines how California's South Asian
community is driving the demand for Bollywood
films. (May 23, 2002)
Produced by INDOlink, a U.S.-owned portal serving Asia and India,
this Web site features reviews, news and box office ratings
of Bollywood films.
This Web site features discussion forums, polls and movie quotes
from India's giant film industry.