Archive for March, 2008

Maa TV dons new look

March 28, 2008

Maa TV, the Telugu entertainment channel, is growing stronger by adding new innovative programs for its viewers. The channel is changing its logo as the entire spectrum of things has been changing.

There is lots of vibrancy added to the channel. It is no more considered as a movie channel but now a lots of games shows, new serials and comedy shows, have been added to give non stop entertainment to its viewers.

The channel has always shared a very close rapport with the film industry and that’s how the confinement of Cinema Awards 2008. The trophy is customised and designed effectively by a very renowned designer.

Rs 18 crore penalty for JJ TV

March 28, 2008

The adjudication authority in a FERA violation case has imposed a penalty of Rs 18 crore on now defunct JJ TV and its directors Sasikala, the confidant of AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa, and V Bhaskaran, the nephew of Sasikala.

The case was filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in 1996-97 when, Jayalalithaa was the chief minister of Tamil Nadu. The case of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) was the directors had acquired foreign exchange to the tune of $ 6,80,000 without RBI permission. The amount was paid to US-based Rimsat and Philippines based Subic Bay Satellite systems as transponder charges and uplinking charges for telecasting programmes under the logo JJTV.

The ED also alleged that the company and the directors had also entered into an agreement with the two companies for making annual charges of $ 13.6 lakh without RBI permission. Based on the investigation done in India and abroad the ED had filed a case in 1996-97.

Both Sasikala and Bhaskaran filed a series of petitions in the Madras High Court and obtained a stay against the adjudication proceedings. The case was adjudicated after the stay was vacated. The adjudication officer imposed a penalty of Rs 8 crore on the company. Sasikala and Bhaskaran have been directed to pay Rs 4 crore and Rs 6 crore. It is not known whether, Sasikala and Bhaskaran have obtained any legal remedy.

No move yet on cable TV tariff in Tamil Nadu

March 28, 2008

The Tamil Nadu cable TV operators are considering reducing the monthly tariff being collected from the public following the state government announcing the abolition of the taxes being collected from the operators by the local bodies.

Finance minister K. Anbazhagan had announced in his budget speech that the cable TV operators need not pay taxes to the local bodies. Each operator was paying Rs 72,000 per annum if his office fell within a city corporation limit and Rs 36,000 if he was in a municipality. The town panchayats charged Rs 18,000 and village panchayats collected Rs.12,000 a year from the operators within their jurisdiction. The government also wrote off Rs16 crore that the operators owed to the various local bodies across the state.

“With such a big bonanza sanctioned by the government, we are hopeful that the operators will reduce the fee they are collecting from the customers,” said Shakeela, a housewife at suburban Tambaram. The Chennaites also are harbouring similar hopes though in their case, the tariff is guided by TRAI guidelines.

“We have called a meeting of the executive council of the cable TV operators’ federation on March 30 at Cuddalore to discuss this issue and take a decision on streamlining the tariff in order to help the customers without causing a serious dent in our business,” said P Sakilan, president of the Tamizhaga Cable TV Operators General Welfare Association.

However, another operators’ representative said he was not quite sure whether the government’s sops could percolate down to the user-public.

“While the government abolished the tax we must pay, there is no clear instruction that we must reduce our tariff,” said D. G. V. P. Sekar, a Chennai operator.

Ashish Kaul quits Zee Entertainment

March 28, 2008

Ashish Kaul, Executive Vice-president, Corporate Brand Development, Zee Entertainment Enterprises has quit the group after a decade-long stint.

Kaul said, “After a decade-long stint with Zee, I have decided to move on. I have already put in my papers and am currently serving a one-month notice period.”

Kaul, who had joined in 1999 as Manager, Corporate Communications, rose to the top position of Executive Vice-president, Corporate Brand Development, of a consortium of companies (including Zee Group) under Essel Group. He led the largest centralisation of strategic communications within the corporate world, bringing all brands under the Essel Group umbrella.

In a career spanning 14 years, Kaul has worked as corporate marketing/brand, business development, corporate affairs and communications management specialist with diverse business operations, including SVR Group and Hinduja Group before joining Essel Group.

At Essel Group, Kaul was involved with several new business initiatives, including DNA, Dish TV, Agrani IT Retail, and more recently, the Indian Cricket League (ICL) initiative.

INX’s news channel NewsX launches

March 28, 2008
NewsX, the English news channel from the INX Media’s stable, has gone on air since 9 am this morning. But this is a soft launch as the prime target is now to get connected to as many operators as possible.

Speaking to US, NewsX COO Vynsley Fernandes said, “We are on air and we have released both the audio and video line for the operators, and taken off the ‘test signals’ band from the screen to facilitate the tuning of our signals.”

Fernandes added, “The reason we are calling this a soft launch is that we are at the moment not promoting the channel but ensuring that the operators get our signals, both audio and video just right.”

He said also that as and when an area gets seeded through the cable operator the subscribers can see the channel’s entire programming from today.

INX Media founder-CEO Indrani Mukerjea said, “The period from March 2007 to March 2008 has been the most interesting year fro INX Media. We have achieved all that we planned and set out to achieve so far all in a years time from ground zero starting on 1 March, 2007 with one desk and one peon. 2008 is the year for INX and we will do everything to make it the most successful and promising enterprise in the country.”


Big Entertainment has big plans for 2008-2009

March 28, 2008

The pieces are surely falling into places to complete the jigsaw puzzle. It’s over the next 1-2 years that you will realise the grand media blueprint of Anil Ambani’s.

“Many of the pieces that we have been working on for the last two years (like Zapak, BigAdda, Bigflicks, and Big 92.7FM) are now connecting together,” reveals Rajesh Sawhney, CEO, Reliance Big Entertainment. He adds that the next three years will be significant for bringing about the revolution that ‘Big’ has planned.

So, what does this vision entail? In the first place, it’s about focusing on three areas – movies, radio and internet. The second plank is to enter areas that have potential, but are either in unorganised hands or have just taken off. The third foundation is to grow locally, and later make noises globally. The fourth is to be prepared for a convergent India, bound to happen soon. In effect, Big Entertainment may emerge as the next News Corp, with Anil Ambani as the Rupert Murdoch in waiting.

Let us first take a look at the way in which the Indian media industry is likely to grow in the near future. By 2011, it is poised to touch the magical figure of Rs 1 trillion with a CAGR of 18% (as per the 2007 FICCI-PWC report). Even if he manages to capture about 10-15 % of the total potential, Sawhney can create a global-sized conglomerate. Big Entertainment has a vertical presence from multiplexes and exhibition spaces to processing, content creation, animation studio, to visual effects.

As Nikhil Vora, Media Analyst, SSKI India, points out, “With better realisations, reduced leakages and multiple revenue streams, the Indian film industry may register 17% CAGR over 2006-10.”

“We believe it will outgrow GDP and opportunities will not only be in Bollywood but also in regional cinema and animation,” explains Sawhney. But different tactics are being employed in each arena. The animation model is not outsourcing-led, but IT-centric. The plan is for the company to make 6-7 movies targeting the Indian audience over the next three years and also look at opportunities internationally. In addition, they are also keenly eyeing the home video market, which currently, constitutes about 6-7% of the total movie pie. And if you look at Hollywood, it comprises the single largest revenue source (30-35%) of any movie.

On the broadcasting side, Sawhney hopes to participate in the next round of radio bidding and more than double the number of stations to 100. “I believe radio is a huge growth opportunity and this has been vindicated in the acceptance of this medium by listeners and advertisers in 2007.” Another area to watch out for is the Internet. What has happened in mobile in the last five years will be witnessed in broadband.

Reliance Entertainment has applied to the ministry of information and broadcasting to launch 20 news and non-news television channels. Reliance is looking to launch five general entertainment channels and five movie channels as well as music, lifestyle and news channels.

Names for each individual channel are being worked out by the company. The Hindi movie channel is likely to be first off the block, around July. Reliance Entertainment plans to feature well-known and popular Bollywood movies on this channel.

Concludes a leading media analyst, “Big Entertainment is scaling up very aggressively. They are thronging every segment of the Indian media space. Trust me, there is much more to look forward to in 2008.”

DD loses over Rs 2.4 million due to faulty record of FCT: CAG

March 24, 2008

DD initiated action in March last year for recovery of Rs 2.05 million against the total Rs 2.41 million due to it for giving excess free commercial time sponsors of two different programmes in November 2004 and early 2006.

However, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has observed that though the public broadcaster had raised the bills after it was pointed out that the FCT ledger was not being kept correctly, Doordarshan irregularly allowed 15 per cent commission.

Under the provisions of the Rate Card, the commission can only be allowed if the agency pays the dues within the stipulated time of 45 days from the first of the month following the date of broadcast.

The CAG says it referred the issue to the Information and broadcasting Ministry in June last year but no reply had been received till November.

Under the Rate Card, FCT is the time allowed by Doordarshan for commercial advertisements to the sponsors without charging any fee, and this is bankable up to 100 per cent anytime during the same programme subject to the limits specified in the Card. To ensure the advertising agencies do not use excess FCT, Doordarshan Commercial Service maintains an FCT Ledger indicating the progressive banked FCT available at the credit of each proper and its utilization.

Audit of a particular programme showed that the Ledger did not have the correct details of the FCT allowed and used, and therefore the correctness of the banked FCT was not ascertainable at any point of time. CAG which reconstructed the Ledger found that at the end of the 48th episode of the programme telecast in November 2004, the producer had availed an excess of 310 seconds of excess FCT, resulting in a loss of Rs 1.87 million.


In the case of another programme, the FCT utilized by the producer in five episodes telecast in February-March 2006 was not recorded or was short recorded in the Ledger. The producer had actually used 1245 seconds of FDCT in these episodes against the credit of 880 seconds at the end of the 325th episode in September 2006. This resulted in the producer being granted excess FCT of 365 seconds resulting in a loss of Rs 5,48,000 at the prescribed rate.

Neo Sports set to launch nine TV shows

March 24, 2008

Neo Sports, the Cricket broadcasting channel, is set to launch nine television shows. The shows will be on air, starting from Monday over the next month, in between South Africa’s tour of India.

The shows ‘Dial C for Cricket’, ‘Sports Zone’, ‘Tour Diary’, ‘Tadka Marke’, ‘Baat and Bowl’, ‘Encounter’, ‘Ballebaaz’, ‘Jaya He’, and ‘The Great Indian Run chase’ are poised to narrow the bridge between cricket and entertainment.

Each show will focus on different aspects from serious cricket, sports news, past matches, live interaction with audience to interviews and gossips. The India versus South Africa series starts on March 26.

Maulik Tolia, Programming head, Neo Sports says, “After a lot of research, we have found that there is a huge appetite for cricket that goes beyond the live matches. That is not surprising when you consider that cricket is part of India’s socio-cultural fabric.”

Last week, the channel had announced its new campaign titled ‘India’s race to No.1-Test Cricket’.

BBC launches two kids’ magazines in Singapore

March 24, 2008

BBC Magazines is launching two kids’ magazines Learning is Fun and Charlie and Lola, in Singapore.The titles will be launched with licensee company MediaCorp publishing. This is the first time BBC Magazines have launched a title with this partner.

Both magazines have a friendly and family-oriented theme, and are aimed at pre-school children with big imaginations.

The titles have had successful international licences before with Charlie and Lola launching in the Netherlands earlier this year and Learning is Fun in Poland in 2004.

The cover price for the magazines will be $4.90 and the print run between 5,000-10,000 copies.

BBC Magazines adds that MediaCorp Publishing Pte has a reputation for producing quality bestselling magazines in every language and age category. All of its children’s titles have a loyal audience and they hope to continue this success with Learning is Fun and Charlie and Lola.

BBC Magazine head of licensing and syndication James Hewes says, “MediaCorp Publishing is one of the leading publishers in Singapore which has a good mix of parenting and children’s titles in its stable. Its magazine distribution division also has a good network across the whole of Singapore. This combination makes it an ideal partner for our children’s titles.”

MediaCorp Publishing’s licensing manager ChunLeong Ong says, “We are delighted to be partnering with such a well established and respected organisation for these exciting new launches. We have no doubt that Charlie and Lola and Learning is Fun magazines will be a success in Singapore.”

Ten Sports to telecast Sri Lanka’s tour of the Caribbean

March 24, 2008

Ten Sports will telecast Live Sri Lanka’s tour of the Caribbean this month. Sri Lanka and West Indies would play two Test matches and three ODIs. The first Test match would commence from March 22, while the ODI matches would commence from April 10.

Ten Sports had recently renewed its partnership with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) for another five years to distribute television coverage of all cricket sports that would be played in the West Indies between 2008 and 2012. Also, Ten Sports has the broadcasting right to the Middle-East and South-East Asia, and would also distribute the events worldwide, with the exception of the UK, Ireland and the Caribbean.

Ten Sports is available in over 50 million cable and satellite homes worldwide. The channel broadcasts cricket from Sharjah, West Indies, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Zimbabwe, the Indian Sub-continent and Asia, as well as to the US and Canada (Cricket Plus), the Middle-East and North Africa.

Ten Sports also owns the exclusive rights in its Sub-continent territories for the WWE, the UEFA Champions League, the US Open and Hockey World Cup.