Archive for October, 2008

Raj TV unveils devotional programming for November

October 31, 2008
Raj TV, the Tamil general entertainment channel (GEC), is gearing up to introduce devotional programming in the month of November. The channel has acquired live telecast rights of various religious events in Tamil Nadu as November is a significant holy month for Tamilians.
On 4 November Raj TV will beam the ‘Kantha Shashti festival’ live from the Subramanya Swami temple, Thiruchendur.
On 11 November the channel will air live ‘Karthika Deepam’ directly from the lord Shiva Temple in Thiruvannamalai.During the month, it will also air 20 movies like Indian and Thenali on its afternoon movie band between Monday-Friday.

Channel [V] to kick off game show on 31 October

October 31, 2008

Channel [V] is launching a game show Bingo [V] Full On at 7 pm from Friday-Sunday.

Starting 31 October, the show will measure the strength of participants through various activities like rock-climbing, football, para-sailing, trekking, go-carting, Bhangra, running treadmills, scuffle with mechanical boxing gloves, using bodies as human bowling balls among others.

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The 13-week game show will be hosted by Channel [V] VJs Juhi and Neil.

Channel [V] VP content and communication Saurabh Kanwar said, “Full On! surpasses all standards of insanity ever portrayed on television before. We call it the IPL of television- ‘Indian Pagalpanti League’. For this show, besides youth focused promotion, we will also be exploring content innovation.”

Channel [V] has selected participants to test their IQ (insanity quotient) from colleges across Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and other metros.

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The show will see 10 teams consisting three members each at the beginning. Each successive week will see two teams fight it out in the ultimate battle for supremacy. The game would be made trickier each day by adding new twists and turns resulting in a crazier experience for the six participants.

The activities will be followed by a set-based game with Channel [V]’s VJ Lola Kutty, where viewers also can participate via sms.

NDTV to distribute Granada TV in India and South Asia

October 31, 2008
NDTV has entered into an agreement with UK commercial broadcaster ITV Global Entertainment to distribute Granada TV in India and South Asia.

This is the first third party channel that NDTV will be distributing. The bouquet includes NDTV Good Times, NDTV Imagine, NDTV India and Imagine Showbiz.

“We will be distributing Granada TV in India and South Asia. There is an untapped potential for quality niche channels in the Indian market and Granada TV, with its strong content line-up, will fill this gap,” said NDTV head of network distribution and affiliate sales Rahul Sood.

NDTV’s initial focus will be to get Granada TV up on digital platforms. Being a pay channel, the English general entertainment channel will complement lifestyle channel NDTV Good Times. The other channels distributed by NDTV are free-to-air.

NDTV 24X7 and NDTV Profit, the two pay-TV news channels, are distributed by One Alliance.

Granada TV is set to launch on 1 November on the ABS-1 satellite for the Asian region. The channel will air content from ITV’s existing library, such as Prime Suspect, The Jeremy Kyle Show, The Friday Night Project, Ballroom Bootcamp, Airline and Vroom Vroom.

“With over 50 years of experience as the UK’s number one commercial television network, we are tapping into our unique catalogue of quality content and commercial skills as a broadcaster to bring this new must-see channel to Asia,” said ITV Global Entertainment president and MD Peter Iacono. “Granada TV is a large-scale, serious undertaking offering compelling love stories, drama, gripping mysteries and exciting light entertainment — that’s what everyone will love and tune-in to. It’s about family; it’s about lifestyle; it’s just plain and simple good TV.”

Amrita TV, Kalaignar TV to launch new reality shows

October 31, 2008

Amrita TV, the Malayalam entertainment channel, and Kalaignar TV, the Tamil entertainment channel, have announced a slew of new reality shows to be launched in the coming days.

Amrita TV will launch a new reality show called Super Talent, which offers a platform for presenting many talents of a person. The channel claims to break the monotony of conventional dancing and singing based shows. Super Talent will offer a platform for participants to present any and every talent ranging from mime, mimicry, mono acting, magic, juggling, instrumental music, etc’, besides singing and dancing.

The show is based on the concept, wherein people of all ages can take part, who are artistically gifted. The participants would be assessed solely on the basis of the entertainment value of their performances. The participants would be allotted a specific time for presenting their acts on the stage. The show is currently in its audition stage and would go on air soon.

Kalaignar TV, on the other hand, is launching two new reality shows, both of which will go on air from October 18. Odi Vilayadu Pappa is a children’s dance reality show, which would be telecast at 9.00 pm. Directed by ace choreographer Kala Master, this show is expected to be on air for six months.

The second reality show of Kalaignar TV is called Dhil Dhil Manadhil, which will be aired on Saturdays at 9.30 pm. The reality show will showcase youngsters exhibiting daredevil acts.

Vaaranam Aayiram rights goes to Azhagiri, Kalaignar TV

October 31, 2008

The ongoing tussle for supremacy between Tamil Nadu chief minister, M Karunanidhi’s elder son M K Azhagiri and the Sun TV Network’s Kalanithi Maran is now playing itself out against the backdrop of the Tamil film industry.

Last month saw Sun TV foraying into films by acquiring the worldwide rights of Kadhalil Vizhundhen which turned out to be a huge success. The film also raked up enough political controversy, when its release was initially stalled in Madurai, a region known to be pro Azhagiri.

Now Azhagiri seems keen to have his share of the tinsel pie. His son, Dayanidhi Azhagiri has acquired the theatrical rights of a much-eagerly awaited Tamil film, Vaaranam Aayiram for close to Rs 18 crore. The film, featuring actor Surya and Kannada star, Divya in the lead, and directed by Gowtham Menon, was expected to hit the screens this Diwali.

However, Cloud Nine, a film company launched by Azhagiri’s family, has postponed the movie’s release to mid-November.

“They want to create a massive marketing blitzkrieg for Vaaranam Aayiram on Kalaignar TV, just the way Maran did for his film on Sun Network channels,” said a veteran distributor of Tamil films.

Sun Pictures had undertaken a ‘never seen before’ promotional exercise, both on television and print, that raised expectations for the film, and helped to popularise the films soundtrack.

Vaaranam Aayiram came about when, after the release of Kaaka Kaaka in 2003, both the director Gautham Menon and Surya Sivakumar expressed their desire to work together in the future. In early 2005, the pair came together for a film tentatively titled Chennaiyil Oru Mazhaikaalam which also featured Asin Thottumkal in the lead role and Daniel Balaji in a supporting role. However, after a photo shoot, the film was delayed and then subsequently called off.

Nevertheless, in 2006, producer Aascar Ravichandran signed up the pair for a new film, which they confirmed was not going to be a sequel of their previous venture, and was going to be a romantic thriller. Initially titles such as Naan Thaan and Udal Porul Aavi were considered to be the title for the project but however, Gautham announced the title was decided as Vaaranam Aayiram, whose literal meaning is “the strength of a thousand elephants”.

The film is believed to be based on Character, a Dutch film by Mike van Diem, however others have claimed that it is a remake of the 1993 Hollywood movie, Forrest Gump, starring Tom Hanks.

The film has seven songs composed by Harris Jayaraj. The songs from the albums were released to four leading FM stations in Chennai, with one song per station, in attempt to popularise it five days before the official launch. The move by Sony BMG was the first of its kind in Indian cinema.

Meanwhile, the relationship between Ravichandran and the film’s director Gowtham has turned bitter, with discussions centering around the film’s budget.

Gowtham’s Photon Factory had originally entered into an agreement with Aascar Film to produce the film on a ‘first copy’ basis for about Rs 7 crore. However, the film was rewritten soon after its launch. This not only resulted in a prolonged delay but caused the films budget to increase by several crores

Sun TV Q2 net profit at Rs 108.31 crore

October 31, 2008

Sun TV Network, a broadcaster operating satellite television channels and FM radio stations in Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam and Telugu, posted a net profit of Rs 108.31 crore for the quarter ended September 2008, a 35% increase over their profit of Rs 80.16 crore for the same period last year.

Their operational revenues showed a similar hike to Rs 237.88 crore from Rs 194.45 crore Q-o-Q. However, the company deferred a decision on buyback owing to volatile market conditions.

Sun TV’s half-yearly results also showed a steady rise since last year, with profits going up to Rs 210.85 crore from Rs 173.23 crore H-o-H, and revenues going up to Rs 461.45 crore from Rs 396.79 crore correspondingly.

Consecutively, the company gave an earning per share of Rs 2.75 over Rs 2.03 for the same period last year. It has a public shareholding of 23%. The company predicts that its direct-to-home (DTH) services division will be a major growth driver, even as its revenue through cable TV subscription increased by 20% over the previous quarter.

Announcing the utilisation of the projected Rs 572.0 crore (net of issue expenses) from its initial public offering (IPO) funds, it said that an amount of Rs 310.36 crore has been utilised towards capitalisation of subsidiaries; Rs 64.71 crore towards launch of new channels and purchase of new equipment and up-gradation of existing equipment; and Rs 34.62 crore towards construction of owned corporate office.

The balance proceeds from the IPO after meeting IPO expenses, pending utilisation have been invested in fixed deposits with banks.

I&B ministry gives green signal for FM stations to air news

October 18, 2008

Are you late for office or slipped your daily dose of stock movements. Don’t fuss and put not yet payable stress on your grey cells, for now you can know the stock motions while driving. Confused?

The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has given its green signal for the FM radio stations to broadcast news on their stations across the country.

From December 01, 2008, not only the stock movement, but one can also tune in to the latest happenings in the business and political world, with just a flick of the radio channel. The ministry has given a go-ahead for 261 FM channels to air news and current affairs programmes produced by All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan.

TRAI has earlier suggested that FM radio broadcasters should be permitted to broadcast news using content from AIR, DD and other authorised news channels. It has recommended that to sustain the growth evinced in FM Radio sector, major policy decisions should be taken and these include allowing FM channels to broadcast news under certain FDI parameters.

Ravi Shankar, former I&B minister, had once said, “In India, news sells like nothing other.” The big daddies of radio business are now all set to test the water to mint moolah from the news broadcasting.

According to Uday Chawla, secretary general, Association for Radio Operators for India (AROI), “We have agreed to the I&B ministry’s suggestion. The self-regulatory mechanism would be in place by October end to ensure fair news without impinging upon journalistic ethics.”

“Broadcasting of news on radio has a very bright panorama as news in radio will reach a larger target audience than television can ever even imagine. And at the same time, one can generate more sponsors and investors.” says Apurva Purohit, CEO, Radio City.

It’s not only the FM channels that will milk profits from advertisers once broadcasting of news on FM channels is in full sway. Recognised agencies such as AIR, Doordarshan, PTI, UNI too will also get a mileage out of this new development.

The decision of government to allow FM channels to broadcast news, might create a dent in the foundation pillars of the existing news channels, as they will also have radio channels to contend with for market share.

“No not necessarily. In spite of so many television news channel mushrooming, print media has not been affected even a bit. So radio news cannot t disturb news channels. Moreover, the new decision would help those people, who lack access to information, without any costs that are attached to the Internet and electronic media services.” says Tarun Katial, chief operating officer, Big FM.

Sharing his views, Harrish M Bhatia, COO, My FM, says, “Government’s intention to grant permission to broadcast news on private FM radio channels is definitely a step in the right direction. The news broadcast shall increase the listener base and lend more credibility, authenticity and trust to FM radio.”

Time Warner ups stake in Sci Entertainment to 16%

October 18, 2008

The Time Warner Entertainment has increased its stake in UK-based video games maker Sci Entertainment, noted for its Lara Croft franchise.

With the recent buy of 5 million shares, Time Warner has increased its stake to 42 million shares, or 16.1 per cent, from its previous 14 per cent.

Meanwhile, Kevin Tsujihara, Time Warner’s representative on the SCi board, resigned on Friday as a non-executive director, with immediate effect.

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Time Warner, however, mentioned that despite Tsujihara’s resignation from the board, Warner’s increase in ownership is a clear indication of their confidence in Sci Entertainment.

BBC Worldwide in content deal with New Zealand broadcasters

October 18, 2008

BBC Worldwide concluded content deals with New Zealand broadcasters TVNZ and Prime Television at the television trade event Mipcom in Cannes, France.

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BBC Worldwide has renewed a deal with Prime Television that will see the upcoming series of award-winning Top Gear remain with the channel.

Top Gear is consistently Prime’s highest-rating programme, and has aired on the network since 2004.

Meanwhile, BBC Worldwide has also concluded a deal with TVNZ for new and returning drama, factual, and factual entertainment programming.

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New dramas included in the package include Whitechapel, The Children and Sleep with Me.

Returning series include the third series of time-travel drama Primeval, the fifth series of New Tricks, Hotel Babylon, Mistresses and Silent Witness.

Complaint against Raj TV for showing MGR films

October 16, 2008

Decades after MGR’s death, his films continue to be gold mines, both in theatres and on satellite television channels. The telecast of two of his films, Adimai Penn and Ulagam Sutrum Valibhan by Raj TV on October 2 has resulted in the channel being accused of copyright infringement.

In a written complaint lodged with the commissioner of police, Emgeeyar Pictures and OK Films have accused the channel of “plain piracy and total infringement of copyright”.

According to a statement from the two companies, they own the copyright of MGR films Nadodi Mannan (1958), Adimai Penn (1969) and Ulagam Sutrum Valibhan (1973). In 2000, OK Films agreed to sell the world satellite TV rights of the film to Raj TV, for Rs 30 lakh.

According to the complainants, while the channel had paid Rs 20 lakh, it still owed Rs 10 lakh. However, the channel aired Adimai Penn and Ulagam Sutrum Valibhan on October 2, and requests to the channel to stop the telecast were ignored.

Speaking to us, M Raajhendran, MD of Raj TV said that as per the agreement with OK Films, the channel had the right to claim interest if the film’s rights were delayed.

“The rights should have been given to us by 2001, but because of the litigation over the ownership of the films, our money was locked. Now that the judgment has clearly stated that they are the producers of the film, it was decided to telecast the film.” Raajhendran said.