India is a country – of continental size and a kaleidoscope of cultural, linguistic, and religious diversity. It is only inevitable that the media mirrors this fact. Like the country, the media is rich and varied – the ownership is diverse at the national level, and concentrated at the regional level. The sheer size of the media tells a story. There are more than 17,160 registered daily newspapers in India, including English, Hindi and regional languages. The country also has nearly 900 television channels of which, more than 400 are news channels, and the numbers are only growing steadily.
Big names in media have a national as well as regional presence but at the state level, there is stiff competition for viewers or readers from local players, who have a sizeable block of consumers at that level. Online is another turf war, with established newspapers having a digital outlet, that is not only an extension of their print avatar, but also offer videos, blogs, opinion pieces and analyses – something that might not fit into a daily newspaper. There are digital-only media houses as well, who own websites that are mostly about analyses and opinions.
News radio is a state monopoly and the sole preserve of the state-run public broadcaster – All India Radio, that operates under an autonomous body called the Prasar Bharati, funded by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India.
In short, media is India presents as colourful a study, as the media itself. MOM has investigated 58 media outlets: 25 print media, 23 TV outlets, 9 online media and 1 radio station. These are owned by 39 companies and 45 individual owners.