Archive for December, 2007

WGAW strike may affect Zee Café strongly

December 10, 2007

If you are a Jay Leno patron and are disappointed to watch already seen episodes of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno then pray that the 2007 Writers’ Guild of America strike comes to an end soon.

Because of the on-going strike by both the Writers’ Guild of America, East (WGAE) and the Writers’ Guild of America, West (WGAW) since November 5, Zee Café is showing the best of Jay Leno shows.

The WGAE and WGAW are two labor unions that represent film, television and radio writers working in the United States. The strike is against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), a trade organisation that represents the interests of American film and television producers. Over 12,000 writers are affected by the strike. According to the sources a settlement was unlikely before the start of 2008.

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Tata Sky plans to bring more interactive channels

December 10, 2007

Tata Sky Limited, the DTH joint venture between the Tata Group and Star, will introduce more interactive services on its platform.

To make Direct-to-Home (DTH) television service more popular and acceptable, the company has already launched eight interactive channels, which include education, games, cooking, quizzes, astrology and sports.

Vikram Mehra, Chief marketing officer, Tata Sky, said the company has crossed a subscription base of 1 million within a year of its launch. “We hope to increase the subscription to 1.5 million by this December-end. Going by the present growth rate of the industry, we are confident that our subscription base will cross the 8million mark by 2012.”

“We are offering a bouquet of 140 channels to our customers. It has been our constant endeavour to make television viewing a wholesome experience for the entire family. Our aim is to convert the television viewing habit and make the medium more interactive for the entire family,” Mehra said.

Mehra said the company would introduce more educational interactive programmes. It will launch educational programmes for students over 12 years of age and develop additional channels for kids. Presently, the company is offering interactive services free of cost. He said the company would charge a nominal fee for select services in future.

Tata Sky is also planning to introduce ‘movie-on-demand’ in the South Indian languages. On the arrival of the new players like Sun Network, Reliance and Bharti in the DTH space, Mehra said, the present cable market is estimated at 70-75 million and the market is large enough to accommodate more players.

Big 92.7 FM is radio partner for Bengalooru Habba

December 8, 2007

Bengalooru Habba, an cultural event this year brings with it a series of performances and shows. A total of over 2750 artistes from Karnataka and 250 artistes across India will perform during the course of 10 days. Big 92.7 FM has been associated with this cultural festival as the official Radio Partner and has lined up a host of on-air programs and live shows.

Big 92.7 FM’s popular RJ’s Shalini, Harsha and Kiran are hosting select shows for Bengalooru Habba across various venues in Bangalore till December 9.

Kamal Mohandas, Station Head, Big 92.7 FM Bangalore said “We are proud to be associated with Bengalooru Habba as their radio partner.Big 92.7 FM the No.1 FM station in the city with its vast listener base will help connect with thousands of listeners across the city and spread the spirit of Habba.”

Fox Entertainment Group acquires Beliefnet

December 8, 2007
Fox Entertainment Group (FEG) has acquired Beliefnet, a Web site that enables consumers to better understand their faith and build diverse spiritual communities by providing content and tools for a broad range of religions and spiritual approaches.

Beliefnet will become part of Fox , spearheaded by president Dan Fawcett, which takes on an expanded role to support Feg’s cable, TV and film brands online, and drive FEG’s continued growth in the online market.

Sun’s SFM launches at Kozhikode

December 8, 2007

Sun TV’s SFM is launching at Kozhikode in Calicut through its subsidiary Kal Radio. After the launch, its total number of SFM stations will go up to 15 across India.

SFM is already operational in Chennai, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli, Visakhapatnam, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Bhubaneswar, Tirupati, Madurai, Tuticorin, Lucknow and Bhopal among others.

Sun expects to launch its station in Pondicherry soon.

The company will launch 30 more stations to be present in 45 stations all over India.

James Murdoch is Chairman, News Corp Europe & Asia

December 8, 2007

James Murdoch has been appointed Chairman and Chief Executive, Europe and Asia, News Corporation. In this new role, Murdoch will take direct responsibility for the strategic and operational development of News Corporation’s television, newspaper and related digital assets in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

This new structure follows a decade of rapid growth for News Corporation in these regions and will allow for more cohesive management of the operating units, which include News International UK, Sky Italia, Star Group Ltd. and News Corporation Europe. Murdoch will rejoin the Board of Directors of News Corporation, on which he served from 2000 to 2003, and become a member of the Office of the Chairman, Rupert Murdoch. He will report to Peter Chernin, President and Chief Operating Officer of News Corporation. Murdoch will be based in London and takes up his role immediately.

In a separate announcement made today, British Sky Broadcasting Group plc (BSkyB) announced that James Murdoch has resigned as Chief Executive Officer of BSkyB and has been appointed Non-Executive Chairman, succeeding Rupert Murdoch, who has stepped down as Non-Executive Chairman and as a Director. James Murdoch has served as BSkyB’s Chief Executive since 2003. The Board of BSkyB has appointed Jeremy Darroch as Chief Executive. Darroch previously served as BSkyB’s Chief Financial Officer since 2004.

Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of News Corporation, said, “James is a talented and proven executive with a rare blend of international perspective and deep, hands-on experience in improving operational results. He has transformed Sky, which is now not only Europe’s most valuable television company, but also the fastest growing challenger in the much larger UK marketplace for entertainment, broadband and telephony. His experience at Sky, combined with his track record in Asia while running Star , and prior roles, make him uniquely qualified to take forward these exciting businesses that have grown so much over the last decade. This is the right time to align our operations in Europe and Asia under new, structured group leadership.”

James Murdoch said, “I am excited to be rejoining News Corporation in this new role leading News Corporation’s businesses across Europe and Asia, and I am delighted to continue working with the exceptional team at Sky in my new role as Non-Executive Chairman and as a Director. News Corporation is the world’s most global media company, made up of extraordinary and committed individuals that I am privileged to be joining. Media is fundamentally a business of ideas where top-quality, professional journalism and creative entertainment have an extremely bright future — significant value can be created by focusing on pace, execution and taking advantage of the sea change we are seeing in media.”

Jayalalithaa launches Jaya Plus & Jaya Max TV channels

December 8, 2007

AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa launched two additional channels hoping to strengthen her Jaya TV basket and put up some fight for share of Tamil viewership.

Jaya Plus will be a 24-hour news channel with current affairs, talk shows, political interviews and debates on fiscal issues thrown in, while Jaya Max will provide non-stop music, according to K. P. Suneel, Vice-president (news), Jaya TV.

The former chief minister drove from her suburban Sirathavur farmhouse, where she has been holidaying for the last few days, to switch on the two new channels.

Addressing the staff at Jaya TV, which is she controls along with the family of friend Sasikala Natarajan, she exuded confidence that the new channels would become highly popular and wanted those in charge of programming to do their best to produce aesthetic and contemporary fare.

“It was a soft launch today so we could test the systems,” Suneel said indicating that the full-fledged programme stream would begin in the third week of next month. “We will then have the full complement of programmes. We are working real hard to ensure they are of top quality,” he said.

“Jaya TV has already built a track record in promoting classical music through programmes such as the Margazhi Utsavam. There will be ample content which can be enjoyed by all sections on Jaya Max, which will have film music, light music and of course Carnatic music,” Suneel said.

Though the Union information and broadcasting ministry had given the permission almost five years ago to Jaya TV to start a new news channel, the licence for uplinking it was withheld by the communications ministry, held by the DMK’s Dayanidhi Maran till recently. Jaya TV had to move the Madras high court to get the uplinking clearance, alleging in its petition that Maran was blocking the licence for nearly two-and-a-half years. Maran had denied the charge.

TDSAT appoints mediator in Tata Sky-Sun TV pricing row

December 8, 2007

Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has appointed one of its former members to mediate between Direct-to-Home operator Tata Sky and broadcaster Sun TV after the two companies failed to resolve differences over pricing of channels.

During the proceedings at the TDSAT, counsels appearing for Sun TV said that the agreement drafted between the two sides would have to be reworked due to the new interconnection regulations issued by the sector regulator TRAI, a report by PTI said.

Thiswas objected by the Tata Sky counsel, who stated that Sun TV should respect TDSAT’s earlier directions. The tribunal had in August this year disposed of the case and asked the two sides to settle their dispute.

At that time, they had informed that the issue between them has been resolved and submitted a paper having a list of channels to be offered by Tata Sky in its entry packages in the southern states. Despite that, differences between them over signing an agreement remained and both of them filed separate execution applications before TDSAT, the PTI report says.

Responding to the execution applications filed by Tata Sky and Sun TV, TDSAT has appointed its ex-member Lt Gen D P Sehgal to mediate between the warring sides.

TDSAT Chairman Justice Arun Kumar directed the DTH operator and the broadcaster to hand over all relevant papers and documents to Sehgal, who retired only a few months ago. The tribunal also made it clear that Sehgal was free to fix his fee for that job and both the parties would pay in equal share.

BBC World Service Trust campaigns for AIDS in India

December 4, 2007

More than 2.5 million people are living with HIV in the country and Multiple sexual partners and inconsistent condom use, specifically in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, have ensured that these states have the highest prevalence of AIDS afflicted persons across the country.

In a bid to create a buzz, get people to talk about their fears and bust prevalent myths about the dreaded disease, the BBC World Service Trust, a non government organisation (NGO), is to flag off a series of interactive measures from December 1, World Aids Day.

To get the message across the Indian populace the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had come to the aid of the NGO with a grant of $6 million, to be used over a two-year period.

First off the mark is a contest with one aim, to get people talking. The target audience is 50 million men, in the reproductive age group. A clever riddle will entice consumers through a mass media campaign. There are clues like “It’s a sign of manhood…but it’s not a moustache. The one who doesn’t talk about it is no man” and so on.

Says Yvonne MacPherson, project director of the BBC World Service Trust, “The fun brain teaser will involve interactivity between the target audience, with an invitation to phone in to a certain number and get people to say—not SMS—the answer to the riddle. That way, we encourage more talk. And the booty is a mobile phone prize, which again encourages one to talk.”

Over the past six years, the BBC World Service Trust has been implementing India’s largest HIV and AIDS mass media campaign.

It has produced two weekly television shows for Doordarshan (the public TV broadcaster): a drama, starring HIV-positive detective Jasoos Vijay, and a reality show Haath se Haath Milaa, which featured over 40 Hindi film stars. The last series of Jasoos Vijay was watched by over 70 million viewers.

TheOneAlliance adds TV Today to its bouquet

December 4, 2007

TV Today Network has entered into a strategic tie up with TheOneAlliance, a joint venture between SET India and Discovery Communications India to distribute its channels – Aaj Tak, Headlines Today and Tez.

TV Today is a leading news network and has made significant inroads in the International market by launching in US, UK and Continental Europe. With an eye on the future, the network has decided to tap into the domestic subscription market.

G Krishnan, CEO TV Today said, “This is a key development and I am glad we are going to be a part of the One Alliance bouquet. I firmly believe that as a network if we continue to provide compelling content, the viewers will be willing to pay for the channels. I am certain that subscription revenue is going to gather significant momentum in time to come.”

Gurjeev Singh Kapoor, head of SET Discovery said, “SET Discovery has always been keen on partnering with the best channels in every genre so as to provide our viewers a wider choice. It gives us pleasure to have 3 channels from TV Today: Aaj Tak – being the No.1 Hindi News channel, Headlines Today and Tez in TheOneAlliance Bouquet. These channels from the TV Today group would further strengthen TheOneAlliance Bouquet.”

The other channels in TheOneAlliance include Sony Entertainment Television, Max, Sab TV, PIX, AXN, Animax, Discovery, Discovery Travel & Living, MTV, Animal Planet, NDTV 24X7, NDTV India, NDTV Profit, Nick, Ten Sports and VH1.