Archive for July, 2008

HC issues notice to Royal Cable Vision on Sun TV petition

July 26, 2008

Justice A. Kulasekaran of the Madras high court on Thursday ordered notice, returnable by two weeks, to the Tamil Nadu government, Royal Cable Vision (RCV) and 12 others, on a petition filed by Sun TV network Limited.

The notice directs the officials to receive its complaints against RCV and others with regard to illegal tapping of signals, register the same and take action in accordance with law.

Sun TV claimed that it was put to heavy loss due to illegal tapping of signals by the RCV, owned by chief minister’s son M. K. Azhagiri and his agents. It filed many complaints but the police either refused to receive them or take action.

This Monday, Sun TV moved high court, and a writ petition, filed by L Jyotheeswaran, authorised signatory of Sun group, contended that RCV and a group of 11 local cable television networks had been illegally tapping the signals of Sun TV and distributing them to viewers.

Pogo to launch Hole in the Wall from July 28

July 26, 2008

Pogo, the kids’ channel, will launch an exciting game show called Hole in the Wall, from July 28 at 6 pm, airing every Monday to Friday.

Hole in the Wall will engage the audience with the challenging fumbles and stumbles of the participants, and is hosted by Cyrus Sahukar. The show format is licensed from FremantleMedia and is produced by Wizcraft Television in India.

Krishna Desai, director, programming, Turner International India, said, “Pogo is India’s first kids’ channel to acquire a format show. Research and the very successful shows such as Takeshi’s Castle, Just for laugh Gags, have demonstrated that shows with physical challenges and comic moments resonate high among Indian audiences. This encouraged us to bring Hole in the Wall, with its clutter breaking format to India.”

Each episode of the action-packed Hole in the Wall comprises of two teams with three contestants each, all dressed in special team-colour costumes with cushioned gears ready to face the wall and take on the opposition team.

As the moving wall speeds towards the waiting team player/s, they are required to align themselves to the weird cut out shape/s in the approaching wall, all in seven seconds or be swept into the pool. The game requires fast thinking, dexterity and clever teamwork to keep dry and score higher points.

TRP’s heading for self-regulation?

July 26, 2008

The controversial television rating points (TRPs) are headed for some kind of regulation. Though the Telecom Regulatory of India (TRAI) has suggested “self-regulation” for TRPs, it’s clear that the government too will have some role to play in this regulation.

The TRAI recommendations suggesting policy guidelines that need to be adopted for rating agencies have come after its views were sought by the Union ministry of information and broadcasting.

In a report running into 119 pages, the regulatory authority has said while it recommends “self-regulation” through an industry led body, it would like the “government exercising oversight through its nominees in the industry-led body”. The industry body that it has in mind is the Broadcast Audience.

With a multitude of channels in the race to grab eyeballs and advertisements, TRPs determine not only their programming but also their advertising revenues.

And yet, for a country with a billion-plus population, TRPs are determined on the basis of a ‘peoplemetre’ that is presently installed in about 13,000 households. The metred households are located only in urban areas of big cities, with large swatches of the country – including rural India and the north east uncovered entirely.

Videocon to launch DTH by October-end; plans to invest Rs 10 bn in 2 years

July 20, 2008
Videocon Group will launch its direct-to-home (DTH) service by October-end and plans to invest Rs 10 billion in the venture over two years.
Bharat Business Channel Ltd , the company which will launch the DTH service, has signed up with SingTel for six Ku-band transponders. The DTH venture is being headed by Anil Khera who was earlier in charge of Videocon’s Sansui and Kelvinator brands.
“We have taken six Ku-band transponders on SingTel’s ST-1 satellite. We are investing Rs 10 billion over two years and are launching the DTH service by October-end,” Khera tells will operate its DTH service under the D2H brand. The company will use MPEG-4 compression technology and plans to kick off the service with 200 channels.

Videocon will manufacture the set-top boxes (STBs) at its Aurangabad factory. It will use Irdeto’s encryption technology.

The uplinking will be at Greater Noida, adds Khera.

Reliance ADAG’s Big Tv and Bharti are also preparing to launch their DTH service this year. While Dish TV is the current market leader with 3.3 million subscribers, Tata Sky has over two million and Sun Direct one million.

ETC Networks Q2 operating profit at Rs 2.6 crore

July 20, 2008

ETC Networks (earlier known as Zee Interactive Learning Systems), has posted a stand alone operating profit of Rs 2.6 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2008. The stand alone revenues stood at Rs 19.1 crore.

During the period, broadcasting revenue were at Rs 12.9 crore, up 3 per cent as against Rs 12.5 crore in the year ago period. While, educational revenue of the company surged 7 per cent to stand at Rs 6.2 crore as compared to Rs 5.8 crore in the corresponding quarter last fiscal.

ETC Networks runs Hindi music channels ETC and Punjabi music channel ETC Punjabi. The network also runs a chain of pre-schools in the name of Kidzee in 270 cities across India.

Zee Turner: MSOs/LCOs shall sign Ten Sports agreement

July 20, 2008

Zee Turner, the largest distribution house in the country, and which holds the rights to distribute Ten Sports, has decided to block the sports channel for all those cable operators, who do not sign up the ‘Ten Sports Agreement’ with the company before the India – Sri Lanka series, which begins on July 23.

The Delhi High Court passed an order on July 18, 2008 granting injunction in favour of Zee Turner, thereby restraining all such MSOs/LCOs, who have not executed a subscription agreement with Zee Turner and who are resorting to unauthorized transmission of the sports channel.

The Court was further pleased to appoint local commissioners across the country and has also provided police assistance in case of unauthorized transmission leading to piracy of signals of Ten Sports, including coverage of the India – Sri Lanka series.

Zee Turner, in addition has also deployed a Special Task Force (STF) to check piracy of the channel all over the country, which will take appropriate action against any operator found guilty of piracy.

M. S. Gill lashes out at DD for ignoring Junior Asia Cup

July 20, 2008

With the ongoing Junior Asia Cup hockey tournament going largely unnoticed, a miffed M. S. Gill, Union Sports Minister, lashed out at the public broadcaster Doordarshan for ignoring the event, while lamenting that the private channels too have got their priorities wrong.

Gill said though a large number of public wanted to see the ongoing eight-nation tournament in Hyderabad, Doordarshan hardly sounded interested because ‘it would not fill their coffers’.

“I’m sorry to say that Doordarshan is not showing the tournament. I tried to resolve it but apparently failed because they wanted to make money out of it,” a dejected Gill said.

Reminding DD of its duties as the public broadcaster to telecast events of national interest, Gill said, “I certainly see the duty which DD should be discharging for Indian sports. They should not always be thinking of earning and earning,there is a limit to it.”

Gill was equally upset with the private channels for largely ignoring the event. “I was very disappointed with what I saw last night in the major bulletins. There was this hard-fought match between India and Pakistan, which India won 3-1. But what did I find? The first story was about Sania Mirza losing in straight sets to a junior girl in Stanford in a minor tournament. Second story was Ronaldinho leaving Barcelona for AC Milan for $30 million perhaps. I want to ask what is the relevance of this news in a country where footballers don’t get their TA-DA in Santosh Trophy?”

Sun Direct TV predicts 2 million mark in 365 days

July 20, 2008

Sun Direct TV, the direct-to-home (DTH) service from Sun TV Network, which has crossed one million subscribers in 200 days, predicts to double its subscriber base to two million subscribers, by the time the company celebrates its first anniversary.

The subscribers of Sun Direct TV are currently spread across Tamil Nadu in a 60:40 rural urban ratio, and in the coming days the company will be spreading its wings across the country, through an effective technology and pricing strategy.

On the technology front, Sun Direct uses the MPEG4 technology, which means that the company is able to compress close to 22 channels in a transponder, whereas with MPEG2 (Dish TV and Tata Sky use this) only 12 channels can be compressed.

On the pricing issue, under the basic package, Sun offers 100 channels, a dish, box and an year’s subscription at Rs 1,999 (inclusive of Rs 1,000 as installation charges). The company proposes to further drill down its rates to augment more and more subscribers.

When asked about the cost effectiveness of the new technology and its benefit to viewers, Ilan Kumaran, senior manager, corporate marketing, Sun Direct TV, said, “MPEG4 is better than MPEG 2 because the transponder capacity will be reduced to 50% if we use MPEG 4 since it carries double the amount of channels than MPEG 2.”

Sun Direct is also the only DTH platform to provide HDTV in India. A lot of English channels use high definition (HD) format and Hindi and regional movies are now being broadcast through this technology.

“Apart from the Southern markets, we plan to enter other states in the North as their is an huge market for regional channels there. Presently, we are also in talks with NGC, Fox and others for HDTV content, and are sure to reach the two million mark in 365 days.” said Kumaran.

TTD launches devotional reality show Sudhana Vinodhini

July 16, 2008

If you are bored with the musical reality show, you may now tune into new devotional channel launched by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD).

The recently launched TTD’s Sri Venkateshwara Bhakti Channel will have a devotional reality show hosted by singer S. P. Balasubramanyam. The one-hour devotional musical reality show titled Sudhana Vinodhini will go on air every Sunday in the evenings. This is the first ever devotional reality show in the country.

“We want to spread devotional music. So we have decided to start a devotional singing competition for youngsters,” the singer said.

The competitions will be held for youngsters between the age group of 16 and 22. The TTD devotional channel already completed its auditions at Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam and Tirupati.

Balasubramanyam has been hosting musical shows in a couple of Telugu general entertainment channels.

Tamil Nadu slams private cable operators for tax evasion

July 16, 2008

The Tamil Nadu government has launched Arasu Cable Corporation, to compete with the Sumangali Cable Vision (SCV), owned by the Maran brothers, grand nephews of Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.

Karunanidhi said it was the first such venture by any state. The network beamed its first pictures from the Thanjavur digital control room, covering Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur and Tiruchirapalli districts.

The CM said the government had prevailed upon representatives of popular pay channels to give their feed to the Corporation. Arasu Cable would offer as many as 70 channels, including pay channels, for a maximum price of Rs 100 a month.

The government would take legal action to get the feed of some more pay channels, which had not given their consent to give their feed to the corporation, Karunanidhi said.

“The corporation had been started with a social objective and not for profit-making. We hope to break even in about three years. We have asked the local cable operators providing the last mile connectivity not to charge more than Rs 100,” said Brijeshwar Singh, chairman and managing director, Arasu Cable Corporation.