Archive for June, 2010

Suvarna bets on mythology for 10 pm slot

June 26, 2010

Star’s Kannada channel Suvarana is set to launch a half-hour historical cum mythological mega-series, Guru Raghavendra Vaibhava, come 21 June. The show will be aired from Monday to Friday at 10 pm.

Each episode will be repeated daily at 9 am and also on a vertical slot from 9am to 12 noon on Sundays. The channel plans to run 260 to 300 episodes of the serial.

Said Star India President (south) Jagdish Kumar, “Suvarna has been presenting quality programming and has become synonymous with fresh concepts and innovation. Also, our success with our series on Shree Shirdi Sai Baba on our main Hindi GEC is one of the reasons for telecasting a mythological serial during primetime.”

Added Suvarna business head Anup Chadrsekhar, “We have done a dipstick study looking at the power cuts in rural Karnataka during the daytime. Also, we have noticed a weakness in all our competitors’ programming during the 10 pm slot. Guru Raghavendra is a revered saint throughout Karnataka across all castes and communities. We hope to capture the audience’s attention through a serial on him.”

As part of the channel’s marketing plans for the show, besides the on-air promos on Suvarana, the channel has planned a print, outdoor and radio campaign. The radio campaign, primarily on Big FM, will include prizes to viewers who give the right answers to questions after having watched the serial the previous night. To reach a larger audience across the state, the channel has also roped in Red FM, and has plans on the back burner for approaching other radio stations such as Fever and Mirchi in the state inform sources at Suvarna.

The channel has also got permission from the Mutt (temple) at Manthralaya to beam the series everyday on a big screen on one of its grounds between 7 pm and 10 pm to catch the eyeballs of the hundreds of thousands of devotees that throng the shrine and hence garner more viewers. Suvarna is also considering to approach around 150 large Mutts in Karnataka for display of promos at their venues. Around three to four days before the commencement of telecast of the series, Suvarana teams will visit households in ten major towns in Karnataka and distribute 400,000 promotional leaflets and information literature.

Guru Raghvendra Vaibhava has been produced by M S Ramaiah Media and Entertainment P Ltd. (MSRMEPL), the screenplay and direction are by Ba. La. Suresh, with Hosamane Murthy as the art director.

“We will be recovering just half of our production cost of around Rs 200,000 per episode through the cost sharing and other incentives from Suvarna,” revealed MSRMEPL director M R Pattabhiram. “Since Guru Rahhavendra is equally revered and popular in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, we expect to break even and maybe make a profit with the dubbed versions in Tamil and Telugu. Star, however, has the first right of refusal,” he clarified. Pattabhiram is also considering a Marathi version of the series, since the saint was also quite popular in south Maharashtra.

Raj TV throws 45 million for Raavanan Rights

June 26, 2010

Reliance Big Pictures has sold the satellite rights of Tamil film Raavanan to Raj TV for a period of 11 years.

Raj TV has paid Rs 45 million for the rights, market sources said. The satellite telecast rights for the Hindi version, Raavan, has been sold to Colors for five years.

“We have sold the rights to Raj TV for 11 years,” said a source in Big Pictures, while refusing to comment on the commercial terms of the deal.

Tamil broadcasters Star Vijay, Kalaignar TV and Jaya TV had evinced interest to buy the rights.

“Raj TV paid a hefty amount as it needs content in the fiercely competitive Tamil general entertainment channel market.

Big Pictures is in negotiations to sell the TV rights of Villain, the Telugu version of Raavan.

UF Group to invest Rs 150 mn for music & lifestyle channel UFX

June 26, 2010

Music and lifestyle programming. That too primarily in English. UF Media, part of the UF Group, is hoping that this combination will strike a chord with youth as it gears up to launch its multilingual English-based lifestyle and music entertainment TV channel, UFX. Targeted at young people in the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, UFX was soft launched on 28 May by minister of state for information & broadcasting S Jagathrakshkan.

The south India based UF Group, which has varied interests ranging from investment fund (Clement Ventures) to media and entertainment (Southern Digital Screens the southern franchisee for UFO Moviez) will be investing Rs 100-150 million in the channel.

UF Group MD Usman Faheed gives his rational for launching UFX. “Since we have a relationship with movie producers on account of our cinema digital distribution business, we thought it would be a good fit to also start a music channel where we could promote the movies along with their songs,” he says. “We are targeting audiences across the 14-45 year age-group, with a core target group of 15-35 years. We are hoping to breakeven within three to four years.”

UFX will air music in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada; however, the shows will have anchors speaking only in English.

“Ours is the first channel which will cater to the needs of youth in this region (the south). There is huge scope, and UFX will fill the gap,” Faheed told

UF group chairman Usman Fayaz had earlier co-promoted SS Music along with Santiago Martin, but then the two decided to part ways.
The channel is being beamed off Insat 4B and uses MPEG 4 technology. “We are probably the first southern channel to use MPEG 4,” says Faheed.

Currently UFX is working on its distribution in the four states and is in talks with major multi-system-operators (MSOs) for carriage. “We are finalising deals with SCV, Hathway and Asianet for our distribution. We will reach every single home in these states. After establishing ourselves here, we will sign deals with DTH players for an all-India presence,” Faheed added.

UFX’s content will range from music to films to food to fashion to internet to travel and interviews with celebrities and film stars.

Nick India to acquire revamping

June 26, 2010

Nick India, the popular kids’ entertainment channel is all set to acquire new logo and appearance on June 25th. The new move is for the realigning and for keeping in pace with its international network. The new logo will represent the channel as a whole identity on global platform.

The channel is also going to operate with a new motto of ‘Kids first and then family audience’ rather than the old tag line ‘Kids only’.

According to Steve Grieder (Senior VP, Nickelodeon International), “Globally the change got initiated in fall last year and we finished up with the entire transition across America, Europe and Asia. India is the last major market that will undergo this makeover.”

The channel will focus on content emphasising particularly the entertainment needs of girls and boys rather than telecasting twin appeal programmes. These programmes will cater to the entertainment requirements of whole family. The channel is now concentrating on Gen Y kids of the country with this new attempt of acquiring new appearance and content.

Said Nick India senior VP and GM Nina Elavia Jaipuria, “On the programming front, Nick will launch Artzooka, an art and craft show, on 27 June. The show will be telecast every Sunday at 10 am and every Saturday and Sunday at 5 pm. Complimenting the football season, the channel will also launch Dreamkix, a football-based show, in July. It will run from Monday-Friday at 6 pm”.

“Over the last two years, we’ve been the fastest growing brand in the kid’s entertainment space. With innovative, pioneering initiatives across platforms, we aim to further dominate our leadership and widen the gap with other players in this space,” said Jaipuria.

ESPN to provide HD feed of FIFA and Wimbledon to DTH operators

June 22, 2010

ESPN Star Sport, leading sports broadcaster in the country, has sought to provide high-definition (HD) feed of the ongoing 2010 FIFA World Cup and the upcoming Wimbledon 2010 tournament to three direct-to-home (DTH) service providers.

The three DTH operators to receive the HD feed are Dish TV, Airtel Digital TV and Tata Sky. With this collaboration, subscribers of the three DTH service providers would be able to enjoy the sporting events in an enhanced picture having more sharpness and clarity and superior audio quality thus making the whole TV viewing experience more alluring.

Prior to the current announcement, ESPN provided the HD feed solely to Dish TV as the two companies had entered in an exclusive agreement at the time of the Dishtru HD service by Dish TV.

Mr R.C. Venkateish, Managing Director, ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd, said, “We are delighted to partner three leading names in the DTH arena to telecast the FIFA World Cup 2010 as well as the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships 2010 in high definition for the benefit of sports fanatics in the country.”

With expansion of the HD content provision contract with other DTH operators, ESPN seeks to support penetration of DTH platform in the country. ESPN already operates an HD channel in South-East Asia.

ET NOW joyous on completing one year of existence

June 22, 2010

ET NOW the English business news channel that involves stock tips, trade calls and market analysis, celebrated its 1st anniversary. The channel has acquired no.2 position in English business news domain with in short span of one year of its inception.

Country’s popular business daily, The Economic Times launched its Electronic media entity on June 17th last year. ET NOW brought the Economic Times advantage to television, redefining the way business news is presented with cutting-edge analysis, insider perspectives and skilled advice. This enabled ET NOW to achieve a 22% share of the market in 6 metros in a year’s time reaching out to over 50 million viewers.

ET NOW’s 1st anniversary celebration was marked by the ringing of the symbolic market opening bell (the gong) at the BSE by Mr. Vineet Jain (Managing Director, Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd.) and leading film actress Vidya Balan along with Mr. Sunil Lulla (MD & CEO, Times Television Network), Madhu Kannan (MD and CEO, Bombay Stock Exchange), Asia’s oldest stock exchange and Andy Mukherjee (Executive Editor, ET NOW).

The channel had been involved in providing latest business happenings to the viewers and has helped investors informed. On its anniversary, the channel has lined up special programmes and shows throughout the week and on the weekend with name ‘The Economic Times Advantage’.

Star Plus turns “Ruby Red” on its 10th anniversary; acquires new logo and appearance

June 18, 2010

During the huge viewership fascinator event Star Parivaar Awards 2010, India’s flagship General Entertainment Channel Star Plus has unveiled its new logo and appearance. With a tag line of ‘Rishte Wahi, Soch Nayi’ this popular channel is all set to play a new 10 years long innings. The channel has just completed its 10 highly successful years of existence in the Indian TV entertainment space.

The revamping of Star Plus’ logo has been done by UK-based Venture 3 while eminent advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather is the creative agency.

Star India CEO Uday Shankar flaunted the new assets of Star along with the Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan on the occasion and said, “I am pleased to announce the brand refresh for our flagship channel Star Plus. This is the first time in the history of television brands in India that an attempt to refresh has been made with such depth of detail, permeating to the core of its business”. He further added, “The new logo is a ruby star which is feminine, strong, full of energy and life. The white swoosh, lit from within and represents inner strength and quest for fulfilment.”

Star Plus has also worked on the restructuring of its programming and content to replenish the channel in a new way. The channel is going to facilitate its viewers with new shows like ‘Chaand Chhupa Baadal Mein’ and ‘Master Chef’ to be hosted by Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar. Ongoing programmes will continue entertaining viewers with the same pace.

The makeover comes at a time when Star Plus has emerged as the leader among GECs, after 22 weeks. Viacom 18’s Colors had bagged the slot on the GRP chart.

“India has always been a land of new thoughts, which had perhaps been forgotten in our preoccupation with development, and Star Plus aims to revive convention through its refreshed brand promise of ‘rishte wahi, soch nayi’. We are committed to entertaining our viewers with content that propels them in a new direction and setting the agenda for entertainment on Hindi GECs.”

Star Plus takes credit of imparting a new definition of entertainment to the Hindi TV viewers a decade ago with its popular Saas-Bahu daily soaps. It extended its ambit of programmes by covering different genres of comedy, suspense, cookery shows, quiz shows like Kaun Banega Crorepati, drama and horror etc.

Star India, a fully-owned subsidiary of News Corporation, broadcasts 32 channels in eight languages to more than 168 million people every week across India and more than 65 countries across the globe.

Tata Sky rolls out DTH HD services at most affordable price yet in India

June 18, 2010

The latest direct-to-home (DTH) service provider to embark its service in high-definition format(HD) is the joint venture operation between Tata Group and Star – Tata Sky.

Tata Sky has announced availability of HD services on its DTH platform on a competitive price of Rs 2599. This new price by Tata Sky for the technologically advanced HD viewing service might come as a setback for other DTH operators who are offering services at a comparatively much higher price.

Other DTH players such as Sun Direct, Big TV and Dish TV are providing HD services at Rs 9990, Rs 7490 and Rs 5999 respectively.

In a press statement the company says, “After breaking the Rs 100 subscription price barrier in the DTH industry in 2008, Tata Sky Ltd., the joint venture between the TATA Group and STAR today reveals yet another pricing milestone in the DTH industry.”

Mr. Vikram Kaushik, Managing Director & CEO, Tata Sky Ltd. said, “From day one, Tata Sky has led the way in introducing optimum solution for consumers looking at a great value point. Time and again, we have reinforced the trust of Tata and superior technology of Sky to provide a world class service to our subscribers”.

The HD service will support the 1080i picture quality, 16:9 aspect ratio and 5.1 surround sound. The bouquet of channels to be made available in HD would be National Geographic HD and Discovery HD, with addition of Star Plus HD, Star Movies HD and popular sports channels to follow. The company would also seek to add ESPN’s HD feed to its bouqet.

Besides the television channels, Tata Sky would be offering its subscribers with the facility to view movies in HD format starting with the recently released movie “Kites” to be shown exclusively on Tata Sky in HD format.

Tata Sky HD would be made available across the country in all leading consumer electronic outlets. Further to push its new offering, Tata Sky would be offering all its existing subscribers an upgrade to Tata Sky HD and avail the HD Gold Pack for an entire year, absolutely free. All new Tata Sky HD subscribers would be offered the HD Gold pack for the first two months, absolutely free

Under the leadership of Bloomberg L.P., and the founders of UTV, one of India’s leading integrated media and entertainment enterprises, Bloomberg UTV enjoys the unique benefits of local news gathering, production and distribution expertise, combined with world class financial news capabilities and global reach.

June 18, 2010

DishTV, the leading direct-to-home service provider in India, is enhancing its satellite bandwidth efficiency, increase channel capacity and offer more choice to its subscribers in HD and SD with putting Ericsson’s solutions in place.

DishTV would be deploying Ericsson’s high performance EN8100 MPEG-2 and EN8190 MPEG-4 AVC encoders, and is launching a combined SD MPEG-2 and HD MPEG-4 AVC system in the same transponder space. The EN8100 and EN8190 optimize bitrates and deliver greater performance to strengthen DishTV’s business case by maximizing current bandwidth capacity.

With this upgrade to its infrastructure, DishTV would be able to deliver around 7 million subscribers to enjoy the enthralling and technologically superior HD services. The head-end upgrade will also enable viewers to access new SD channels without the need to swap existing MPEG-2 set-top boxes (STBs).

“We evaluated all the options available to us and the advantages of the Ericsson system over other solutions were clear,” said Rajiv Khattar, President Projects, DishTV. “Ericsson’s solution will help us to roll out several more channels to our subscribers and to give us capacity to offer new HD services. This presents significant savings and will further enhance the consumer experience. We are pleased to partner with Ericsson, who has significant experience in this field, for this important upgrade.”

“The EN8100 offers leading levels of performance that enable operators to maximize bandwidth utilization without the need for new customer equipment. This improvement in service, with zero disruption to the subscriber, reduces churn and attracts new customers,” said Eric Baron, Head of Compression, Solution Area TV, Ericsson. “We are pleased to provide DishTV with the capability to deliver more HD and SD services to its subscribers, offering them greater choice, and in turn a further improved overall experience.”

ADAG expands its presence in media sector with 18 stake buy in Bloomberg UTV

June 18, 2010

Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG), a leading business empire in the Indian nation, is gradually expanding its presence in the media sector.

The financial services division of the group, Reliance Capital, is set to acquire 18% stake in the UTV Software Communications’ business news channel – Bloomberg UTV.

In a statement, Reliance Capital informed “the investment will form part of Reliance Capital Limited’s exposure to the fast growing and high potential media sector.”

Bloomberg UTV enjoys a significant position in the English Business news channel genre on the Indian television. The channel underwent rebranding after strategic collaboration with the global business news leader Bloomberg – from UTVi to Bloomberg UTV – in October, 2009.
Under the leadership of Bloomberg L.P., and the founders of UTV, one of India’s leading integrated media and entertainment enterprises, Bloomberg UTV enjoys the unique benefits of local news gathering, production and distribution expertise, combined with world class financial news capabilities and global reach.

Reliance Capital has existing investments in the Indian media industry through Network18 group (10% stake) and TV Today group (14.02% stake). Besides, Bloomberg has applied with the Foreign Investments Promotion Board (FIPB) for acquiring 15% stake in the channel.

As per the statement, post the reception of the necessary approval for the ownership restructuring of the channel, Reliance Capital will own 18%, Bloomberg would be acquiring 15% with UTV founders, Ronnie Screwvala and his associated retaining the controlling stake of 67% in Bloomberg UTV.