Archive for March, 2009

Amrita TV launches election-based show ‘War Zone’

March 17, 2009

Amrita TV has launched an election programme – War Zone in a bid to give an analytic view of the electoral situation prevailing in the twenty constituencies of Kerala.

The show will air from Monday to Friday at 5 pm. It will be telecast at 11.30 am on Saturday and Sunday.

War Zone gives an account of elections that happened in past, information about the sitting MP’s and the issues affecting various constituencies.

Z Channel to tap into direct satellite broadcast market

March 17, 2009

Z Channel, a wholly owned subsidiary of Zcom Networks, will be positioned as a platform for businesses and entrepreneurs to present their messages, products and services. The channel will telecast live and pre-recorded content 24X7.

Said Zcom CEO Alex Parsinia said, “We will tap into an enormous market with the power of Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS). Since our regular programmes will be broadcast for free, we will have access to a captive market of over 5 million homes in North America through our satellite broadcasting system alone.”

“Our IPTV services will provide immediate access to multiple channels, Pc TV options, and services like video-on-demand. Our business model is based on an optimum blend of revenue sources including sale of shows, advertising, e-commerce and revenue sharing,” added Parsinia.

Zee 24 Gantalu to go on air from March 30

March 17, 2009

Defying the economic slowdown, Zee News is going ahead with its expansion plans and the listed company is now concentrating on two new launches – a Telugu news channel Zee 24 Gantalu and Zee News UP.

The first launch of the company in 2009, Zee 24 Gantalu, is schedule to roll out from March 30. This will be followed by the launch of a 24-hour news channel exclusively for Uttar Pradesh.

Barun Das, chief executive officer, Zee News, says Zee 24 Gantalu is targeted at males, SEC ABC, in the age group of 25-44 years. Zee also beams Zee Telugu, a Telugu GEC in Hyderabad.

Shailesh Reddy is the business head for Zee 24 Gantalu, who used to head the Hyderabad news bureau of Zee News earlier. He has more than 13 years of experience in journalism and started his career with Eenadu in 1995.

Zee 24 Gantalu will compete with news channels such as ETV, Gemini News, HMTV, HY TV, I News, Local TV, Mahaa TV, Maa News, NTV, Sakshi TV, Sitara, TV5, TV9, among several other news channels in the Telugu space.

Moving ahead, Das avers that “Given the uncertainty, the company is critically reviewing each and every plan. Unless we derive significant benefits, we would naturally wait for the economy to stabilise before going for any further expansion.”

Zee News has reported consolidated revenues of Rs 143 crore in Q3, up 45.4 per cent as compared to Rs 98.32 crore in the corresponding quarter of FY08. Q3 net profit was up 18.4 per cent at Rs 15.13 crore.

On the advertising revenue, Das said that they are trying to beat the recession by offering innovative solutions for advertisers. The company also expects election advertising to give a boost.

Zee News will stay in the Hindi and regional news space. Of the regional channels, the company claims that Zee 24 Gantalu has already broken even, while the Marathi news channel Zee 24 Taas is firmly on the path to break even too. The company has also launched Zee Tamil recently which, they claim, is picking up fast.

According to Das, an investment of Rs 15-20 crore will be spread over a period of a little over one year. The Zee News board has also approved the closure of Zee Gujarati from April 30, 2009.

Recently, leading financial institutions such as Edelweiss, ICICI Securities, Macquarie and Kotak have already rated Zee News as the most preferred media company for investment, even during troubled times.

Big FM, Chennai introduces four humour characters

March 17, 2009

Big FM, Chennai will raise a few laughs from its listeners in Chennai as it has introduced four comic characters to rule the airwaves in Tamil Nadu.

The on-air interstitial’s, titled Dammara Seidigal, Big Lollu, Situation Chinnaraasu and Major Manikkam, have been introduced to boost the music being played on the radio station.

Starting with the breakfast show till the evening show, these interstitial’s are part and parcel of the daily programmes. The interstitial’s are short of 30-45 seconds each.

PB Ramaswamy, cluster head, Big FM – Tamil Nadu, says, “What makes our station going is the fact that it is local and hugely interactive. We have integrated humour as part of the station’s programming mix for that immediate kick and refreshment. Our new tailor-made properties will provide wholesome entertainment to the listeners.”

The first interstitial to be introduced on-air will be Chinnaraasu, where the funny character will be presented with a humorous situation and he will come up with a song to match the situation. Big Lollu, the second character, will dole out helpful trivia and information on varied subjects.

The third character, Dammara Seidigal, will keep the listeners abreast of the latest happenings in and around their city. The fourth entertainer is Major Manikkam, who having served in the army, takes great pride in delivering witty dialogues, and will ask the listeners to come up with equally rib-tickling responses.

Can Sony Max broadcast the IPL 2 ?

March 17, 2009

Lalit Modi, chairman and commissioner, Indian Premier League (IPL), has recently admitted that he constantly has to juggle his timings in order to get a few hours of rest.

No wonder then, the deal that the World Sports Group (WSG) signed with World Sports Group-Mauritius, with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as the third party, happened at 3 am, IST.

IPL shot off a letter to Sony Entertainment Television (now Multi Screen Media) at 10.44 pm (IST) on Saturday night, March 14, terminating its contract with the channel and five and half hours later, on early Sunday morning, sealed the deal with WSG-Mauritius for a whooping Rs 4,700 crore. WSG-Mauritius is a separate legal entity and isn’t directly related to WSG India Pvt Ltd.

Without the knowledge that BCCI had already inked the new deal, MSM India, on Sunday, sought an injunction in Bombay High Court anticipating that BCCI were in talks with other parties which they claimed wasn’t acceptable. When the case was brought for hearing on Monday afternoon, it then came to light that the deal had already been signed.

“The 3 o’clock agreement.” exclaimed Iqbal Chagla, the counsel representing MSM in the court, further arguing that the termination notice was served so late on Saturday keeping in mind that the court will reopen only on Monday.

The counsel said as per the January 2008 Media Rights License Agreement (MRLA), MSM had paid a bank guarantee of Rs 220 crore and another advance of Rs 90 crore to the BCCI-IPL which was accepted by the latter unconditionally.

To this, the BCCI counsel, V Tulzapurkar, replied saying that the termination clause, 10.1, according to the contract between the two parties, had to be evoked because of a series of breaches of contracts to which there had been no re medial procedures brought in place on MSM’s behalf.

V Tulzapurkar further added that “termination is always a unilateral act and not bilateral,” which in turn means that unlike signing of a contract, the termination of a contract does not require a reciprocal right or the acceptance of any receipt.

Thus, a fax was sent to MSM India on the night of March 14, which merely mentioned that the contract had been terminated. The BCCI, their counsel said in court, had sent notices to MSM 14 days before termination of the contract, citing eight issues pertaining to breach of contract to which they claim there was no reply from the latter.

“The licensee gets the rights back on termination of contract,” he appealed to the court. The court will hear both parties again on Tuesday.

Should the newly signed deal between IPL and WSG-Mauritius stay, the latter will have to look for a broadcaster in the country with more than a 60 per cent reach to further sub-lease its terrestrial rights. The deal between IPL and Sony being on a sticky wicket was first reported in on February 20.

For the record, WSG-India Pvt Ltd bought the telecast and production rights of IPL in 2007 for $ 918 million for a period of 10 years and had in turn leased it to Sony Max (from MSM India stable) for five years for a sum that neither party wants to disclose. Sony Max had signed a back-to-back agreement with WSG for the TV broadcast rights, while any new media right would remain with WSG.

In November 2008, BCCI blamed Sony for its Rs 137 crore on ground sponsorship deal with Reliance ADAG’s Big TV , which was being terminated. It is widely believed that it was after the fallout of the Big TV deal that the rift between BCCI and Sony widened.

BCCI had further asked MSM to convert Bharti Airtel’s exclusive on-air deal as a presenting sponsor for about Rs 30 crore to a consolidated ground and on-air deal for a further amount of about Rs 70 crore.

Big TV, which had picked up ground rights sponsorship with BCCI, had objected to the Sony-Bharti deal and later walked out of the deal citing discriminatory pricing by the broadcaster. Sony officials always maintained that they did follow BCCI rules by offering Big TV the first right of refusal for on-air sponsorship.

Also, it is believed that Kunal Dasgupta, CEO, MSM India quit on account of the fallout of the sponsorship deal between MSM and Big TV, though he has maintained that he quit for ‘personal reasons’.

For now, the possible new partners for BCCI include NDTV Group, state-owned Doordarshan, and ESPN Star Sports. Other prominent sports broadcasters, Ten Sports and Zee Sports, are out of the race since they form part of the rival Indian Cricket League (ICL), owned by the Essel Group. That leaves Nimbus Sports, which may not have the wherewithal to acquire IPL’s broadcasting rights.

Nepal’s first regional TV channel launched

March 4, 2009

Terai Media Network has launched ‘Terai Television’, the first regional broadcaster in Nepal.

Headquartered at Birgunj, Nepal, the channel will relay news in four languages – Nepali, Hindi, Marathi and Bhojpuri. Besides news, the channel will focus on serials, reality shows, social awareness programme, cinema and sports.

The channel will target audience from the Terai region, Nepal and some parts of India- Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

Terai managing director Pawan Kumar Sanghai told PTI that Terai Tv is a dynamic concept to entertain people, exchange information, promote different culture and focus a bit for the people of the Terai, the southern plain.

Turner’s new channel ‘WB’ to launch on 15 March

March 4, 2009

Boosting its investments in India, Turner International Wednesday announced it would roll out a Hollywood entertainment channel on 15 March in partnership with sister arm Warner Brothers Entertainment.

The channel is called ‘WB’ and will have a mix of Hollywood movies and TV series. It will be distributed by Zee Turner.

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The Warner branded pay channel is targeted at the upward mobile class between the age group of 15-44.

Await detailed report…

CNBC Awaaz launches Chota Business Bade Sapne reality

March 4, 2009

CNBC Awaaz, the Hindi business news channel from the house of Network18, will launch a corporate reality show, called Chota Business Bade Sapne – Ban Jao Biyani, which aims to encourage entrepreneurial talent from small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The show gives the aspiring entrepreneurs a platform to achieve their dream of becoming big and it goes beyond just ideas by providing the participants with help and recognition.

Sanjay Pugalia, editor-in-chief, CNBC Awaaz, says, “The show was launched with the simple objective of acknowledging the growing SME sector and to support the entrepreneurs who aim to make it big.”

Sanjay continues, “We have always been associated with the SME sector through numerous initiatives. Chota Business Bade Sapne is a huge step in the direction of development of SMEs by bringing the expertise and guidance of a business legend to the emerging entrepreneurs.”

The successful entrepreneur, Kishore Biyani of Future Group, will act as a guide and mentor to participants on the show. The channel has finished the on-ground activities for the show by receiving 2,000 entries from across the country.

The scope of the popularity of the show can be ascertained from the fact that the maximum entries received were not only from the big cities like Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Mumbai and Ludhiana but also from small pockets of the country such as Siliguri, Thiruvellore, Rourkela and Ichalkaranji.

The on-ground events gave the participants an opportunity to present their business summaries and future expansion plans before an esteemed panel, which guided them with their expertise to make their business plans more effective.

The panel also commented on the presentations and discussed various aspects of identifying and exploiting possible opportunities in the SME sector as well as what it takes to rise to the top of the SME game.

Discovery Travel & Living launches three new series

March 4, 2009

Discovery Travel & Living has launched three travel series – Rough Guides, Walking the World and Things to Try before You Die, all of which focus on different travel experiences.

Rajiv Bakshi, director, marketing and communications, India, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, said, “With an increasing desire to explore various locales around the world, the three unique travel series will act as ultimate guides to the traveler. The series will undoubtedly encapsulate every desired thrill that a traveler. would want to experience. From in-depth analysis for planning the perfect holiday to gut-wrenching antics, the programmes will keep viewers engaged.”

Rough Guides will provide information on how to choose and plan a budget holiday at various destinations, including wildlife parks, islands, and hip cities. The 17-part series, which went on-air on March 1, will be telecast every Sunday at 9 pm.

Each week, the series will explore the top five destinations in each category – beaches, cities, eco escapes, weekend breaks and hidden gems – before naming the one considered to give travelers the best holiday experience.

Another show, Walking the World will depict dramatic sights and local cultures that a traveler. can experience, simply by walking. The series’ hosts will walk through 10 trails on five continents, exploring the planet’s heights and depths, prehistoric forests and ancient wonders of the world.

Some of the destinations covered in the 10-part series are Tanzania, Alaska, Italy, France, Austria, China and Arizona. The series will be aired on the channel every Monday at 10 pm.

Things to Try before You Die has hosts like Jules Lund, Livinia Nixon and Gary Sweet indulging in the top 30 outrageous and adventurous activities in different destinations across the globe, including the US, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and France. The eight-part series will be aired on the channel every Wednesday at 9 pm.

Zee Studio launches Karaoke Nights & SAW club initiatives

March 4, 2009

Zee Studio, the English movie channel from the Zee Entertainment stable, will strengthen its connection with viewers with two of its latest initiatives – Studio Karaoke Nights and the Shut-up And Watch (SAW) film club.

The channel has introduced a club Shut Up And Watch for movie enthusiasts in Mumbai and has plans of extending it across the other metros in the country. The club welcomes film buff to watch quality cinema for free.

Sujay Kutty, business head, Zee Studio, said, “The Shut Up and Watch film club and the Studio Karaoke Nights are initiatives aimed at giving our viewers a direct interface with the channel. It is extremely rare that a movie channel has stepped out of the living rooms of the audience and entered a domain such as a bookstore or a restaurant.”

Sujay continues to explain, “Both the initiatives are platforms for celebrating our shared passion for quality cinema with the audience and leaving them with a memorable experience. The response to the movie screenings and the karaoke nights has been overwhelming so far, motivating us further to make them a Studio tradition.”

The club marked its beginning on February 6 at the Oxford Bookstore, the channel’s partner with an inaugural screening of Paris Je T’aime, the acclaimed compilation of 18 short love stories centered around the world’s capital of romance, Paris.

Zee Studio’s Karaoke nights are a bounty of music, where the channel invites the patrons of a club to sing popular movie soundtracks along with the radio jockey Musicman Mihir and win exciting prizes. The Studio Karaoke nights have so far been a rage at clubs such as Soul Fry, Not Just Jazz by the Bay and Bootleggers, Colaba.