Archive for September, 2008

Indian Idol 4 opens with 3.91, SET at number 3 now

September 29, 2008

Indian Idol 4, Sony Entertainment Television’s (SET’s) prize horse now turns as power house as it brings the channel back on the track. Expectations were high that the show would help SET regain its number three slot among the general entertainment channels (GECs), which indeed has with this exciting property.

Indian Idol 4, began on September 19, and SET India, in its bid to generate curiosity for the show, has allocated a budget in the range of Rs 8-10 crore to embark on a marketing blitzkrieg. The officials at the channel believe that Indian Idol connects better with the youth than any other music reality show presently on air.

Though the show, which opened with a TVR of 3.91 on September 19, certainly helped the channel increase its share in the time slot, it couldn’t catapult SET out of the strong number 3 slot ‘fully’. It appears that the original show on the block has managed to pull in viewers on the sheer basis of affinity amongst its followers and the buzz created by the promotional activities undertaken by SET.

As per TAM Media Research (C&S, 4+, HSM), the show managed a TVR of 4.17 with the second episode on September 20, and its channel share in the 9-10 pm slot went up from 12.22 per cent in the previous week to 14.16 per cent in latest week among GECs.

But overall, for the whole week, the show could increase SET’s market share by only a few marginal percentage points. In comparison, the other three lead channels Star Plus, Zee TV and Colors garnered a channel share of 18.25 per cent, 16.71 per cent, and 14.13 per cent respectively.

Danish Khan, assistant vice-president, marketing, SET India, says, “The strong opening numbers for Indian Idol 4 is an emphatic endorsement to the young India positioning of the show and is a testament to the cult following the show enjoys. It also re-enforces the point that Indian Idol has managed to capture the dreams and aspirations of youth in India like no other show.”

Anita Nayyar, CEO, Havas Media, said, “The ratings of Indian Idol 4 are satisfactory as this is the fourth season of the singing reality series. The show can’t achieve what it did in the first season or even in the second or third season, when it started off with a much bigger TVR of 5.2, 5.4 and 5.7 in season 3, season 2 and season 1 respectively. The channel had done more than an Indian Idol, which has made it close to Zee TV and Colors.”

Sun Direct to invest Rs 150 cr, forays into Gujarat

September 29, 2008

The Chennai-based DTH service provider Sun Direct plans to invest nearly Rs 150 crore and reach out to 30 lakh subscribers by the end of this financial year, its Chief Operating Operator (COO), Mr Tony D’Silva, said. The investment would be utilised for the dish and set-top boxes which are provided free to the subscribers.

The company announced the launch of its service in Gujarat on Thursday. “One of the reasons for choosing Gujarat as the first launch pad outside of South India was the Gujaratis’ strong affinity for their language and rich culture.” Here, it is targeting the 40 lakh household TV owners having neither cable nor any DTH connection. Another 63 lakh TV owners have these connections, he said.

From its launch in December 2007, Sun Direct has reached 14 lakh subscribers in the four southern States. It also plans to launch high-definition TV channels in the next few months and foray into the North Eastern States, Orissa, Maharashtra, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and West Bengal. The other phase of expansion would target Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and the rest of the Hindi-speaking belt.

Sun Direct expects to complete its all-India expansion plan within the next 45 days, he added.

Sun Direct is an 80:20 joint venture between the Maran Family and the Astro Group of Malaysia.

Top FM stations plan ad tariff hike

September 29, 2008

Faced with shrinking advertisement pie due to an increase in number of players, the top few FM radio stations in the country are planning for a hike in advertisement tariff.

The stations are also planning to add value-added service such as packaging advertisement with on-ground campaigns to battle competition.

Taking the lead, the Sun TV Network-owned RED FM, which operates in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata, will be taking a 15-20 per cent hike in its advertisement tariffs with effect from October 1.

“We are rationalising the rates after almost one-and-a-half years,” Mr Abraham Thomas, Chief Operating Officer, told Business Line.

On-ground campaigns

RED FM is also offering on-ground campaigns along with advertisement for its clients.

Industry sources said the advertisement market in the radio segment, including All India Radio, is estimated to be Rs 750 crore.

The market grew last year with new stations coming up, with the total number of operating stations presently being about 250.

RED FM was ahead in Mumbai circle according to the latest RAM (Radio Audience Measurement) by Neilson’s.

RAM data shows that RED FM clocked a weekly average of 44.89 lakh listeners over the last 52 weeks, with a 7.3-lakh lead over its nearest competition.

Thanks : Hindu Businessline

Colors to launch Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena on 26 Sept

September 17, 2008

Colors, the Hindi general entertainment channel (GEC) from Viacom18 stable, is gearing up to launch a weekend prime time show, Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena.

The cricket format show, a combination of cricket and glamour, will hit the TV screens on 26 September and will air every Friday and Saturday at 9 pm.

Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena will feature “Indian cricketers with ladies from Indian television, to fight it out on the dance-floor”.

Colors CEO Rajesh Kamat says, “Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena is another differentiated offering from Colors. Indian audiences have passion for cricket and dance both and nothing like bringing both the things together. The show will have a universal appeal across all demographics.”

Bollywood actress and former Miss Universe Sushmita Sen, along with former Pakistani cricketer Wasim Akram, will judge the show. The voting pattern will follow a 50:50 ratio for the jury and in studio audiences. The winner will get Rs 2.5 million cash prize.

The six teams are S Sreesanth with Surveen Chawla, Harbhajan Singh with Mona Singh, Irfan Pathan with Ashima Bhalla, Dinesh Karthik with Nigar Khan, Nikhil Chopra with Barkha Bisht and Vinod Kambli with Shama Sikander. Bollywood choreographer Pooni Verma is the “dance-guru” of all the six teams.

Colors programming head Ashvini Yardi adds, “We’ve all grown up idolising our cricketing heroes. I am sure that after Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena, we would be practicing their steps as well. It is a total fun show. The judging will be based on evolution of teams. Audience will see a major improvement in the dancing skills of the cricketers.”

The channel has roped in ICI Paints, Kohler, Parle Agro (Appy), Samsung and Hygenic Research Institute as associate sponsors for the show.

“So far we have five associate sponsors and are in talks with advertisers for title sponsorship. Though the rates are definitely at a premium, given the ratings and reach, we are providing a good deal to advertisers,” asserts Kamat.

As of now, the channel has 53 advertisers including Idea, Reliance – ADAG, ITC, Emami, Airtel, Nestle, Max New York Life Insurance, Cadbury, LG, Samsung, LIC, Nokia, Hero Honda and Hewlett Packard among others.

The channel will kickstart the promotion campaign for the show by this weekend. The promos of the show are already on Colors and will be seen on 35 different channels including Network18 channels.

The channel has also roped in Big FM as radio sponsor for the show. “As always, we will mark our presence everywhere – be it print, radio or television,” Kamat states.

Sandhaya Mridul will host the dance reality show. While the title track of the show has been composed by the Salim-Suleiman duo, it has been sung by Kunal Ganjawala.

Animal Planet to don new look from 1 October

September 17, 2008

Animal Planet, a joint venture between Discovery Communications and BBC Worldwide, will be donning a new look from 1 October.

The fresh brand identity will be revealed on the channel from 30 September midnight.

Additionally, Animal Planet’s Hindi feed will also go through a similar change.

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Says Discovery Networks Asia Pacific SVP and general manager – India Rahul Johri, “We are transforming the look, feel and storytelling of Animal Planet in order to deepen our relationship with audiences, affiliates and advertisers alike. The new Animal Planet is full of exciting, instinctual stories that will bring out the raw, visceral emotion in the natural world and lead viewers to see animals as characters, not merely creatures.”

The look of the channel will be supported by a new logo and on-air graphics which has been designed by London-based Dunning Eley Jones.

Meanwhile, adults will continue to remain as the target audience for the channel.

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In addition, the channel has lined up new programmes like Equator docu-soaps Lemur Street, Meerkat Manor and pet entertainment shows like Groomer Has It and CGI.

“The new sets of programming have been designed keeping the Indian audience in mind. We do a lot of research before deciding on any new program. It is widely known that we have lot of international programs nevertheless we only bring those set of programs that we feel would suit the taste of Indian audiences. The new programs will tap into the primal instincts that drive us all maternal, survival and social with fascinating stories that resonate with what it means to be human”, added Discovery Networks Asia Pacific director- marketing and communications India Rajiv Bakshi.

Marketing and promotion for the new Animal Planet will also begin from 1 October.

Bakshi notes, “We would be using rest of our channels to market the new and vibrant looking Animal Planet. As of now there are no plans of using billboards and hoarding for further promotion.”

The channel completed its ten years in India this year.

MGM enters into 5-year distribution deal with Star Den in India

September 17, 2008
MGM Studios has entered into a five-year distribution deal with Star Den Media Services to launch The MGM Channel on Indian cable television, the world’s third largest cable TV market.
Pricing the channel at Rs 6 a month per subscriber, The MGM Channel will tap into the estimated 83 million cable and satellite (C&S) homes across the country.

Star Den, a joint venture between News Corp.’s Star India and Digital Entertainment Network, will also be responsible for distributing the channel on DTH (direct-to-home) and IPTV platforms except Dish TV where MGM is already available under a deal it stitched directly with the Zee Group company. For DTH, The MGM Channel is priced at Rs 3 a month per subscriber.

“We have a fast roll out target and are eyeing a reach across 30 million homes for the channel over the next four months,” says Star Den CEO Gurjeev Singh Kapoor while refusing to elaborate on the commercial terms of the deal with MGM Studios.Sources, however, confirm that MGM and Star Den have entered into a revenue share arrangement. “Star Den has not committed a minimum guaranteed payout to MGM for distributing the English movie channel. The deal is for five years,” an industry source says.

MGM will depend on subscription revenues, having decided to be advertising-free to gain popularity among Indian audiences with its branded Hollywood content. “By working with Star Den, MGM will now have a compelling opportunity to extend and accelerate our channel’s reach throughout the widest possible audience in the large and burgeoning Indian television market. We are already available on Dish TV, India’s largest DTH platform,” says MGM Networks executive vice president Bruce Tuchman.

With MGM, Star Den will be having 23 channels in its bouquet across multiple genres. The MGM Channel will complement Star Movies to grab English movie-viewing audiences. Rival distribution company Zee Turner distributes HBO and Zee Studio while SET Discovery has to contend with Pix.

“MGM with its huge library of compelling Hollywood movies will bring a great value addition to the Star Den bouquet of channels and will indeed complement the best of English Programming it offers to viewers in the country,” says Kapoor.

The MGM Channel has access to the studio’s 4,000 title library. Highlights among the channel’s planned movie offerings in the coming year are Woody Allen’s Manhattan, Network, Carrie, A Passage to India, Midnight Cowboy, The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Mystic Pizza, Desperately Seeking Susan, and many others.

TANCUS launches Cable Art Television against Sun Direct

September 17, 2008

A new war is on between the Cable TV operators and the direct-to-home (DTH) service providers, especially Sun Direct.

In what seems to be a new dimension to the cable wars, subsequent to Sun Direct launching a Tamil comedy channel called Comedy Thirai on September 08, 2008, Tamil Nadu Cable TV Urimaiyalargal Sangam (TANCUS) launched Cable Art Television (CAT), a cable channel for the viewers on September 09, which has been airing a campaign against Sun TV’s DTH service from the past one year.

CAT is a Chennai based interactive channel offering film songs and comedy scenes on request, details on power cuts and traffic jams and other viewer-friendly information. What is intriguing is the channel’s campaign on the demerits of DTH service.

“Even an advanced nation like the US prefers cable TV services to DTH services as the latter is a failure model. Nearly 20 per cent TV homes in the US converted to DTH service. The number has now dropped to 6 per cent. DTH service does not address the problems faced by the consumers,” an print media advertisement of CAT reads.

However, Sun DTH poohpoohs the campaign as baseless gossip. “Cable services are not directed at the individual customers, and are delivered for a cluster of homes. Clarity of the broadcast is lost due to transmission losses in cable TV services. DTH enables digital quality transmission, and is as good as what the channels broadcast. We are offering customers a new choice, a choice of quality and clarity in receiving signals.” explains an official associated with Sun Direct.

Kayal Ilavarasu, president, TANCUS, who runs CAT, is bent on spreading the campaign against DTH across the state. “DTH service is trying to destroy the livelihoods of two and half lakh cable TV operators in the state. They will not succeed in this effort. We are just creating awareness among the public about the disadvantages of DTH like signal loss during cloudy weather. The campaign will be aired in 900 local cable channels across Tamil Nadu,” said Ilavarasu.

Arasu Cable TV Corporation launch fails to excite

September 17, 2008

Operations of the state-run Arasu Cable TV Corporation are to be launched in Tirunelveli zone covering most of the south on Monday but neither the government machinery nor the ruling party men, not even the operators, seem excited.

There have been no advertisement campaigns. The district administration has failed to print formal invitations. The media was not given information about the launch till 5 pm Sunday. Even the officer in-charge of the corporation for Tirunelveli zone, Balasubramanian was not present in his office here to oversee preparation for the inauguration.

The Tirunelveli launch was postponed twice before the government settled on September 15. The operations here along with Chennai and Vellore would be inaugurated by chief minister M Karunanidhi through video conferencing simultaneously.

Tirunelveli has been chosen as the headquarters for the south network that includes Madurai, Kanyakumari, Thoothukudi, Virudhunagar, Sivagangai, Ramanathapuram, Theni and Dindigul. Even the cable operators close to the ruling party are reluctant to take the Arasu feed because it does not contain popular packages from Sun TV and Star TV.

A close relative of a top DMK functionary in Tirunelveli has decided against joining the Arasu network fearing it would hurt business.

Arasu was launched as a rival to Sumangali Cable Vision (SCV) owned by the Maran brothers, Kalanidhi and Dayanidhi, grandnephews of Karunanidhi, in the wake of a feud between them and the chief minister’s elder son M. K. Azhagiri. Many party men here are not showing inter est in Arasu as they are supporters of local administration minister M K Stalin, who is said to have a soft corner for the Marans.

There are technical glitches as well. Since only less than 40 per cent of the work has been completed, Arasu signals are not available in Theni, Ramanathapuram, Sivagangai and Dindigul. In Thoothukudi, operators get the signal only at Kovilpatti.

Indian TV news editor involved in provocative coverage against Muslims

September 17, 2008

In India’s yet another attempt to stab the Muslims in their back, Indian government sponsored Sun TV resorted to provocative coverage against the Muslims.

Police summoned Raja, the News Editor of Sun TV which is part of the Sun Network, owned by Kalanidhi and Dayanidhi Maran, the grandnephews of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi for an enquiry in connection with a complaint filed by a leader Tamil daily Dinamalar, accusing the channel of resorting to provocative coverage.

A senior Police official told that Raja was summoned for an enquiry in connection with complaint filed with the state government, alleging that sketches of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) carried out by the paper’s Vellore edition recently was misrepresented by the TV channel.

Meanwhile, a number of Muslims  staged demonstrations in front of the newspaper’s Vellore office. Some protest demonstrations were also held near the newspaper’s office in Chennai.

The daily subsequently issued an apology for publishing the sketches.  The daily’s complaint has been referred to the Central Crime Branch (CCB) of the city police which registered a case under Sections 153 (provocation with an intent to cause riots) and 503 (criminal intimidation).

It is important to mention here that Sun TV is part of the Sun Network, owned by Kalanidhi and Dayanidhi Maran, the estranged grandnephews of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.

Thanks : Associated Press of Pakistan

Sun TV plays neutral, beams Jaya, CM lives

September 17, 2008

After failing in their attempt to make peace with their grand uncle DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi, the Maran brothers have virtually declared war against the DMK leadership by telecasting live a public meeting addressed by his bete noire AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa in which she launched a vituperative attack on the octogenarian leader’s government, his cabinet colleagues and family members.

Much to the surprise of the AIADMK camp, the Sun News channel, owned by south India’s media baron, Kalanidhi Maran, chose to beam the meeting live, though the pro-AIADMK channel Jaya TV, which also runs a 24-hour news channel ‘Jaya Plus,’ did not show the meeting live. Sun TV, was used as a powerful tool against the then Jayalalithaa government. Furious with the live telecast of Jayalalithaa’s meeting, DMK party men are now demanding Dayanidhi Maran’s expulsion from the party.

However, the telecast of the AIADMK leader’s nearly hour-long fiery speech at her constituency Andipatti in Theni district on Sunday was interrupted by frequent “censorships” particularly when she referred to alleged irregularities by some members of Karunanidhi’s family.

While Jayalalithaa’s scathing attack on power minister Arcot N Veerasamy, who was viewed as the one responsible for burning bridges between Karunanidhi and the Maran brothers, was gleefully beamed, her reference to one of his ‘grandsons’ building a palatial house on 15 grounds in the heart of the city and possessing a fleet of imported cars became inaudible.

Audio went off again when she alleged that police transfers were being effected by Karunanidhi’s family members. However, her diatribe against Karunanidhi on various issues including the price rise, fuel shortage and deterioration of law and order, was telecast without any interruption.

Sun Network sources, however, said there was no attempt to censor the speech and there were genuine audio problems. Refusing to attach any political significance to the telecast of Jayalalithaa’s public meeting, the sources said the channel had decided to telecast live the meetings of all political leaders.

To prove its neutrality, the channel also telecast live the launch of cheap rice scheme by Karunanidhi on Monday to coincide with Anna’s birth centenary. The channel had decided to cover the meetings of MDMK general secretary Vaiko and actor-politician Vijayakanth, who were virtually political untouchables to Sun TV prior to the Maran brothers parting ways with the DMK’s first family.