Archive for January, 2008

Four Telugu news channels coming soon

January 29, 2008

There was a time when watching TV was like a one point programme, almost like a community experience with all of us watching the same programme, at the same place, same time, day after day.

But that was when we ‘watched television’. Before long, however, there was more to choose from and we began to ‘switch channels ‘. Today, with the television industry on a high tide, with more channels than fingers to count on, we are riding on the channel wave which we can now ‘surf’.

So here’s news for channel surfers – T (Telangana) TV, NTV’s women’s special, called Vanitha, the AP chief minister’s son Jagan Mohan Reddy’s unnamed news channel, and Asianet – Telugu will soon be on air.

It is quite literally raining television channels in Andhra Pradesh. A combination of factors has contributed to this surfeit of television channels. The reduction of costs brought about by the digital satellite broadcasting technology has been a big factor.

“Ten years ago a TV channel required an uplink cost of Rs 1.8 crore per month whereas today it’s come down to 60 lakh per annum. This has encouraged many independent players to join the bandwagon,” says Hemanth Apte, a senior TV producer and director.

One can also take a cue from the timing of the launch of these channels with just about a year left for the next elections. According to Dr Padmja Shaw, HOD, dept of Mass Communication and Journalism, Osmania University, there is a rise in public curiosity ahead of elections, creating a market for multiple perspectives.

“In Tamil Nadu both Jayalalitha and Karunanidi have channels of their own and the same is happening here. Even during the last elections we saw some news and current affairs channels that launched around the same time.” Shaw says. Perhaps, this explains the launch of T-TV and Jagan Mohan Reddy’s new channel.

Although the number of channels have increased manifold, the quality of the programmes leaves much to be desired in spite of the increased competition, complains Padma Rajsekhar, a viewer. “There is a severe lack of imagination when it comes to programmes. Hopefully things will change with the increased competition,” says Shaw.

Hemanth Apte, however, thinks that that the future of television is in narrow casting. “Most channels seek to cater to the lowest common denominator among the audience as ad revenues are based on the TRP’s. But niche is the way to go in the future and we will see TV channels catering to target audiences.”

Professor Vasuki Belavadi, reader in the communications department, HCU, believes the increased competition has proven counter productive. “With the market getting more bifurcated with this onslaught it’s becoming tougher to grab attention. The competition has induced a herd mentality among the competitors,” says Prof Vasuki adding, “TV business is very cost intensive and it may take 3-4 years before you break even, therefore one needs to have deep pockets and a clear vision to stay on.”

Arun Sagar, Output editor, TV9, who says that unlike earlier, when players were directly copying formats from national and international channels a benchmark has now been set, and newcomers will have to at least match up to it to stay in business.

“Every news channel will have to balance sensationalism with enough authenticity. But the biggest challenge is to maintain quality in spite of a severe paucity of trained professionals,” says Sagar.

The low salary packages at the entry level are a big deterrent for talented youngsters as there are many lucrative career options available. Closing on a note of caution while also putting things in perspective, Dr Padmaja said, “There is a fantastic plurality of players in the industry here unlike in the West where a hand full of media giants call the shots. Unless the managements concentrate on ensuring quality there is a danger of the same happening here as well.”

Surabhi Lekshmi wins Amrita TV’s Best Actor

January 29, 2008

Amrita TV’s reality show Best Actor, whose grand finale was held at Calicut on January 25 2008, saw four finalists vying for the Oxywash Best Actor title, which ultimately went to Surabhi Lekshmi, a native of Calicut.

The Best Actor enjoys a free trip to Hollywood studio and sessions with two top celebrities in the field of theatre arts. In addition, she also wins a trip to schools of drama in Yale and New York, and an opportunity to participate in auditions at Broadway, and also opportunities to work with prominent Malayalam filmmakers, says an official press release.

The runner-up Sidhartha Siva, from Thiruvalla, won an car. Siva has been engaged in direction and acting and also released a collection of poems. Although thousands of contestants appeared for screen tests in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Kerala, only four reached the finals through an elimination process of public SMS voting.

As part of the grand finale, Amrita TV also honoured a few thespians by way of mementos in recognition of their contributions in the field of theatre arts. The 105-episode reality show was being telecast from SeptEMBER 2007 on prime time Monday through Friday on Amrita TV. The channel will air the finale for its worldwide audiences on February 03.

News Corp, Judith Regan reach settlement

January 29, 2008

Judith Regan and News Corporationh have settled their $100 million lawsuit arising from the termination of Regan’s employment in December, 2006. The parties are pleased that they have reached an equitable, confidential settlement, with no admission of liability by any party.

News Corp. said, “After carefully considering the matter, we accept Regan’s position that she did not say anything that was anti-Semitic in nature, and further believe that Regan is not anti-Semitic.Regan is a talented publisher who created many award-winning and best selling books during her twelve and a half years at the company. News Corp. thanks Regan for her outstanding contributions and wishes her continued success.”

Regan said, “I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with so many gifted people and am looking forward to my next venture.”

Regan’ lawsuit relates to her dismissal from News Corp and its publishing house, HarperCollins, but captured the public’ attention for its intriguing accusations of smear campaigns and cover-ups.

Dish TV joins hands with Sony Pictures TV International

January 29, 2008

Dish TV, India’s leading direct-to-home (DTH) service provider has entered into an agreement with Sony Pictures Television International to air the latest Sony blockbusters on its premier value added service, Movie on Demand.

Subscribers will have access to a slate of box-office hit features from Sony Pictures, including titles such as Spider-Man 3, Wind Chill, Black Book, Resident Evil: Extinction, Surf’s Up, Are We Done Yet?, The Proposition and many more.

Arun Kumar Kapoor, CEO, Dish TV said, “We are the only DTH provider in the country to offer Hollywood blockbusters through our value added service – Movie on Demand. Our association with Sony Pictures Television International further strengthens our offering to our valued subscribers and our appeal amongst our target audiences.”

“We are extremely pleased to partner with Dish TV to bring Sony Pictures’ blockbusters through Movie on Demand to Indian consumers for the first time. At Sony Pictures Television International, we pride ourselves in supporting all platforms and look forward to a fruitful relationship with Dish TV In the end, our goal is to create more value for our partners while giving consumers more choices in terms of accessing content in different ways,” said Ross Pollack, Senior Vice-president, Distribution, Asia, Sony Pictures Television International.

“DTH services are booming in India and one of the distinguishing features for such services will be the ability to offer both Hollywood and local movies via nVOD or pay-per-view. We are delighted to be able to bring Sony Pictures’ top-notch movies to Dish TV’s ever-growing subscriber base,” said Leena Dutta, Director, Licensing, India, Sony Pictures Television International.

Time for Cable TV to shift to other delivery platforms

January 29, 2008

Nearly two million homes in the Kolkata city that currently view pay channels through conventional cable connections will have to shift to an alternative delivery platforms.

The new platforms include conditional access system (CAS), direct-to-home (DTH), head-end in the sky (HITS) or Internet protocol television (IPTV) in a couple of years. That’s the deadline watchdog agency Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has set for switch from analog to digital transmission.

“There is no option but to shift to digital transmission. Those who don’t will be driven out of business. If multi service operators don’t adopt CAS, they will be driven out of business by DTH, HITS and IPTV,” TRAI chairman Nripendra Mishra said.

At the subscriber end, a device like the set top box used in CAS and DTH is required to convert the digital signals to analog for viewing on conventional televisions. Only high definition televisions that comprise a minuscule fraction of television sets in the country is compatible to digital transmission and does not require a converter.

Till date, less than 5% of 2 million cable homes in the city have opted for either CAS or DTH. Numbers would have been higher but for the delay in roll-out of CAS beyond the first zone.

Sun TV’s S FM to launch in Kanpur

January 29, 2008

Sun TV’s S FM is launching in Kanpur through its subsidiary South Asia FM. The launch will take the total number of FM stations to 21 all over India.

S FM already operates in places that include Chennai, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli, Visakhapatnam, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Bhubaneswar, Tirupati, Madurai, Tuticorin, Lucknow, Bhopal, Pondicherry, Kozhikode (Calicut), Indore, Vijayawada, Varanasi, Tiruchy and Rajahmundry.

The company will launch 24 more stations to complete the launch of 45 stations across the country.

CNBC Awaaz – Pehla Kadam series II

January 29, 2008

Union Minister of Finance Mr. P. Chidambaram has praised the efforts of the country’s fastest growing consumer and business channel, CNBC Awaaz, for its investor education series ‘Pehla Kadam’.

After the hugely successful opening round of India’s first organized investor education initiative, CNBC Awaaz is all set to roll out the second part of its Pehla Kadam series. Partnered by NDSL and NSE and sponsored by Reliance Money, Pehla Kadam series aims to answer to all new investor queries. While the first installment of this series dealt with market fundamentals, Pehla Kadam this time around will essentially focus on the next level of understanding of investment vitalities and volatilities.

Lauding the series as a right step in the right direction at the right time, Mr. Chidambaram has said, “”In metros, tier 1 and tier 2 towns, there is a great deal of interest in the capital market and investment opportunities. What I have gathered is your programme Pehla Kadam had profound impact on that class of people. I wish you more success. I wish you will expand your reach to other parts of the country”.

With the Indian economy looking brighter than ever before and Indian stock markets witnessing an unprecedented tug of war between the bulls and the bears, it becomes imperative for new investors to learn the intricacies of the market place. Mr. Vivek Law, Network 18’s leading anchor and CNBC Awaaz – Consumer Affairs Editor, explained that Pehla Kadam aimed to enable investors to make intelligent and informed decisions and eventually maximize returns and minimize risks on their investments.

“In its first series, Pehla Kadam, brought the equity markets closer to people who had stayed away from it. These people had deprived themselves of an opportunity to participate in the great India growth story. Due to the simple classroom approach Pehla Kadam followed, its viewership was higher than even the biggest general Hindi news channel show. In its second series, Pehla Kadam goes beyond equities, and explains to our viewers everything they wanted to know but could not ask, about money. From need of financial planning, to investing in mutual funds, ULIPs, gold and even property,” Mr. Law said.

NDTV Profit lines up special shows on the Union Budget

January 29, 2008

Taking further steps into its constant endeavor in providing viewers meaningful and easy-to-understand insights into the business world that impacts their lives, India’s leading business channel, NDTV Profit, today announced a lineup of special shows on the upcoming Union Budget 2008-09. The shows will include previews, reviews, and expert opinions on the budget and its impact on all sections of our society.

The shows will analyse the union budget to make it lucid and understandable to a wide range of people from the layman to corporate big-wigs covering a wide array of topics on its impact on working professionals, students, ordinary households, big corporate houses, taxation and rural and farm sector.

MAX will telecast the MAX Stardust Awards on 16 February, 2008 at 8.00 pm

January 29, 2008

Hindi film industry descended at the MMRDA grounds, Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai and graced the Max Stardust Awards ceremony with their esteemed presence. The program was not restricted to just the handing over and receiving of awards but provided entertainment galore, including song and dance performances by leading stars like Kareena Kapoor, Lara Dutta, Saif Ali Khan, Govinda and Neha Dhupia.

Kunal Kohli and Neha Dhupia were the hosts for this special evening.

The glorious award ceremony, witnessed Lara Dutta perform on chartbusters such as Move your body from Johnny Gaddar, Deewangi from OSO among others while beautiful Kareena Kapoor enthralled the audience with Nagada and Its rocking form Jab we met and Kya Love Story Hai. Saif Ali Khan performed on medley of hits from OSO, Salaam-e-Ishq, Hey Baby and Race – his upcoming movie. Govinda entertained the audience with his numbers from the movie Partner and Bhagam Bhaag. Neha Dhupia apart from her co-hosting the award ceremony moved danced on popular songs like Namak Ishq Ka, Saiya re, Mayya Mayya, Kiya Kiya and Naughty Naughty.

Among the people who attended the event were the whose who of the tinsel town. Aadesh Shrivastav, Bappi Lahri, Alka Yagnik, Shreya Saran, Shabbir Ahluwalia, Bipasha Basu, Dharmendra, Rishi Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, Suresh Oberoi, Irfan Khan, Gul Panag, Celina Jaitley, Dino Moreo, Madhur Bhandarkar, Raveena Tandon, and a host of others. The event had extravagant sets coupled with lasers, special effects, lighting and acoustics to create a magnificent audio and visual impact.

Public television educates America far beyond the broadcast: study

January 29, 2008

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) in the US has released the results of a survey of public television stations undertaken by SRI International. The
study reveals that more than 84 per cent of the stations are providing educational services directly to their communities.

These services, which extend beyond the broadcast, range from in-person reading programmes for parents and childcare providers to professional development resources for teachers to online activities designed to spark student learning in subjects such as science and math.

CPB president and CEO Pat Harrison says, “This report tells an exciting story about public television’s educational services and the myriad ways in which the stations work with their communities. Education continues to be a core value of the public broadcasting community and is an essential component of CPB’s mission to ‘provide programmes and services which inform, enlighten and enrich the public.’ Public media is a trusted and essential source in creating informed and educated citizens.”

The survey collected information from 165 public television licensees (representing over 300 stations) across the US. It focused on the off-air educational services that the stations provide to their communities, which often go unheralded. The survey challenged stations to describe their education programmes, audiences, technology and how they evaluate the implementation and impact of their important education-related work.