Archive for the ‘Specials’ Category

India’s youth networks get local bent The battle for India’s youth TV market is heating up.

February 14, 2011

Bindass, Indian media conglom UTV’s 3-year-old Hindi-language channel for 18- to 25-year-olds, has stolen the ratings crown away from music giants Viacom’s MTV and Fox’s Channel V, which have slugged it out for the No. 1 spot in the age group for the past 15 years.

More than that, Bindass’ success has spurred its rivals to broaden their content to include more locally made shows.

“MTV and Channel V are great brands, but we always felt that there was a need for a strongly localized Indian brand,” says Bindass CEO Zarina Mehta.

Bindass bowed in 2007 with a mix of music and fiction but, despite a hit comedy — “Sun yaar chill maar,” about a group of college pranksters — it struggled to make headway against its rivals. The recession hit soon after, and the channel had to drastically cut its programming budget.

MTV and V, which began as English-language music channels in the mid-1990s and later added Bollywood hits to satisfy a demand for local music, in recent years included a few reality and fiction shows to their skeds.

MTV enjoyed some success with bike-based show “Roadies” but V lost its way. “We didn’t have clear focus on what we wanted the channel to be; I guess it was drifting,” says V channel head Prem Kamath, who was brought in from sister channel Star to resuscitate the brand.

Bindass re-launched in 2009, with a slew of edgy local reality shows, led by the popular “Emotional atyachar,” which was based on young people questioning their partners’ fidelity.

Anil Wanvari, editor, says the show “changed the entire perception of what youths are willing to watch. It shook the market.”

Bindass’ mix of 51% reality, 40% music and 9% films proved potent. It has topped the A18-24 ratings for the past five months in cities with populations of more than a million in the Hindi-speaking market — once the preserve of MTV and V — according to AC Nielsen subsid Television Audience Measurement.

Bindass’ rivals have countered by widening their distribution into smaller towns where it has no penetration.

In doing so, MTV and Channel V have had to revamp their programming to attract a more rural audience.

V head of content Sheetal Sudhir says the first thing it did was cut music down from 90% to 20% of its sked because there were so many channels playing the same Bollywood music that there was no way to differentiate content among providers.

“We are now appealing to youths in smaller towns by using them in our content,” Sudhir says. “Hence it is inclusive, not exclusive.”

MTV upped its show content to 50% of programming, but as channel head Aditya Swamy says, “Music is the heart of MTV; it always has been and always will be.” However, Swamy notes that the profile of people winning MTV’s reality shows has changed. “They are from the smaller towns and are eager to prove a point to their cool dude counterparts in the big cities.”

V and MTV are moving beyond the TV space to attract ads. They are engaging with youngsters on social networks, university fests, cafes and salons and via merchandising to present the widest reach for advertisers.

“TV is just one of our businesses,” Swamy says. “If our only benchmark is ratings, then life becomes very one-dimensional.”

Going local has worked for V and MTV. For V in particular, 2010 has seen a remarkable return from the doldrums, due to popular shows like “Roomies,” “Dare to Date” and “Lovenet.”

Overall, in Asia, the trend is increasingly toward local content to attract younger viewers.

“The youth segment is being tapped heavily through online, especially in China, Korea and Japan,” says Vivek Couto, exec director of research for film at Media Partners Asia. “In Southeast Asia, TV still has a strong role in the youth segment, especially in Thailand and the Philippines.

“One key development has been the continued growth of local brands — in Korea, there are more than three strong local music and youth brands, mostly controlled by the CJ Group; in China, you have Shanghai Media Group and a host of other satellite broadcasters; in Thailand there’s entertainment major GMM Grammy, which is now producing satellite channels.”

Back in India, despite the popularity of Bindass, MTV and V, there remains one overarching fact: The moment a popular Bollywood film or a cricket match airs, youngsters switch over.

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DD failed as CWG broadcaster; didn’t live up to the expectations

October 18, 2010

Sweating hard for nearly a year for the grand telecast of Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony, the official broadcaster for the event Doordarshan disappointed viewers in its first High definition telecast of the ceremony.

Doordarshan had pulled its socks nearly a year back for the world class transmission of the Commonwealth games extravagant opening ceremony. The ceremony’s success was also vital from the point of country’s image and stature in front of the whole world.

Now that the flamboyant success of the ceremony has slammed the critics, DD is facing the same condemnation not only by the media but also from the common viewers. Ill-timed advertisements popping up suddenly during an important event irritated viewers the most. The sudden explosion of property ads and tourism promoting ads from Andhra Pradesh CM K. Rosiah were just too hard to hold patience.

DD

The biggest setback was the 55 mins delay of the broadcast compared to SIS LIVE’s transmission (DD’s broadcast partner of CWG in UK) which led many viewers baffeled. Due to this telecast delay, people of the host country lacked behind the world in viewing of their own ceremony. We, the people of India finished watching the ceremony almost an hour later the whole world was done with the enjoyment.

Moreover, the mingled commentary of Hindi and English commentators confused viewers in making out the exact details of the performances, raising questions on both the sincerity of them towards the event and the selection procedure. Advertisements capturing nearly two third of the screen space while the proceedings of the ceremony annoyed viewers like anything.

All these loopholes have once again erected a platform for pointing out fingers on the ability of Doordarshan as a broadcaster for such a big event. Moreover, inefficiency of its employees intoxicated with the venom of bureaucracy has surfaced in media.

People who take DD on target due to its rigid bureaucratic approach, old formats and treatment of programming have been bestowed with a chance of doing the same, with these chinks in the armor of public broadcaster.

Kids Ka Jai Ho!

June 10, 2009

Surely the biggies of the Hindi general entertainment space have been channelising their efforts to attract the kids segment. If Colors has been trying to capture the small pops through its top-rated shows Balika Vadhu and Uttaran, Zee TV is gearing up to use this arsenal in its new property Aap Ki Antara.
But has this effort anyhow eaten into the viewership pie of the discerning bunch of little champs, the kids’ channels as a category? Not really!!! If 2008 saw the kids genre close at a 13.78 per cent share (period Jan-May 2008, All India C&S 4-14), the same period in 2009 (period Jan-May 2009, All India C&S 4-14) saw the genre grow by 1.08 per cent.

Kids Genre Share % in 2009
Month
ALL INDIA 09
Jan
13.9
Feb
13.6
Mar
14.5
Apr
15.6
May
16.6
Source: TAM, C&S 4-14, All India

Within the category, again, there are a few transitions. While Cartoon Network still continues to hold the fort, the channel has seen a slight dip of 0.4 per cent in its market share for the period between January to May in 2009 as compared to the same period last year.

Sibling channel Pogo too has surely managed to remain number two in the space. The channel has also seen a rise in its market share from 20 per cent in 2008 to 22.8 per cent in 2009.

All India Market
Channel
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Cartoon Network
29
26
27
24
23
Pogo
23
24
24
22
21
Nick
17
16
15
21
20
Hungama
14
15
17
14
18
Jetix
10
11
10
9
9
Disney
7
7
7
9
8
Spacetoon Kids TV
0
0
0
0
0
Source: TAM, C&S 4-14, All India

HSM Story

Nevertheless, when it comes to slicing the market further to concentrate on the HSM space, the view is visibly different and new. While CN has seen a slight dip here too for the same period over last (Jan – May 2008), it has been ousted for the first time ever by new market leader Nick for the last two consecutive months. Nick has also seen a 4.4 per cent upward swing in its market share, compared to 2008.

So what helped Nick emerge as the number one kids channel in the Hindi speaking market?

“There are a couple of factors that helped us attain this position. First, the Nicktoons – characters that have helped Nick establish space and engagement with the kids leading to an increase in the stickiness of the channel,” says Nick India SVP and GM Nina Elavia Jaipuria.

“Second, we have managed to take Nick beyond television, thus making it more tangible. And I think we did that very successfully with our experimental 360 degree marketing philosophy – we wanted to be in every place where children are,” she adds.

In 2009, CN, however, continues to remain above Nick at 23.4 per cent (Jan – May 2009). Pogo hasm meanwhile, climbed 4.6 per cent up over last year to garner 22 per cent market share.

HSM Market
Channel
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Nick
22
20
18
25
25
Hungama
17
19
21
17
22
Cartoon Network
27
25
25
21
20
Pogo
22
24
24
21
19
Disney
8
8
8
10
10
Jetix
4
4
4
5
5
Spacetoon Kids TV
0
0
0
0
0
Source: TAM, C&S 4-14, All India
While there is definitely a Cartoon Network vs Nick tale here, there seems to be a new contender creeping up the ladder to challenge the old bee.

Latest Tam data shows that Hungama TV, the kids channel for 4-14-year-olds which saw a 8.8 per cent fall in its market share over last, has relocated to the number two spot to push CN down the ladder for the month of May, 2009.

Recently, as part of its revamping strategy, the channel had introduced three new bands during summer and infused new shows into the bands. And its quite evident that the channel shored up its ratings post the change.

The channel had acquired two live action shows, Hatim from Star and Dharam Veer from NDTV Imagine to put them under the action band, Dum Powder. The Trouble Soda band features shows such as Doraemon and Ninjaboy Rantaro while Fun Gas showcases Shinchan and Asari Chan.

Disney channel, meanwhile, has also exhibited an upward growth in its market share.

Well, indications are on that while competition is really getting fierce, competitors are also putting their acts together to displace the winning feather from CN’s hat.

So, does CN foresee any collision ahead?

Says Turner International India vice president and deputy general manager – entertainment networks, South Asia Monica Tata, “Cartoon Network and Pogo’s relative shares in HSM have grown this January-May 2009 to 45 per cent from 41 per cent in the same period in 2008. These numbers are also a reflection of Turner’s long term vision and strategy for India that has paid rich dividends making Cartoon Network and Pogo the most viewed and loved brands amongst kids in India. Not only kids, but parents too give the highest endorsement to these two networks as their choice for kids (per New Generations 2008).”

“Besides, we also enjoy the lion’s share of the advertising pie. Increased competition has not outstayed us from our leadership position in the last 13 years and that’s a merit/result of our focus on the long-term rather than short-term measures and gains and a proof that we know and service our consumers best amongst all,” Tata adds.

South Story

Treading the Southern path, CN indisputably continues to rule the region exhibiting its leadership crown. Placing itself at the second spot, however, is not CN’s sibling channel Pogo, the second in command in the All India market, but Disney’s Jetix that is fed on action adventure content and targeted at only boys between the age-group of 6-10.

“Of the two global channels (read Disney and Jetix), Jetix is a more defined channel. We have made it available in four languages – English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu,” said Walt Disney Television International (India) senior vice president and managing director Antoine Villeneuve earlier in an interview with us.

South Market
Channel
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Cartoon Network
36
32
35
34
32
Jetix
27
32
30
26
30
Pogo
26
26
25
27
26
Nikelodeon
3
4
4
5
5
Disney
4
3
4
4
3
Hungama
3
3
3
3
3
Spacetoon Kidss TV
0
0
0
0
0
Source: TAM, C&S 4-14, All India
Advertising and the kids’ genre

Advertising growth came under pressure amid recession and clients and advertisers became cautious about their ad spend. As a result kids channels were stressed to move to quarterly deals with big advertisers, slash their ad rates and see some brands do a walk out. Yet, in spite of all, the category saw its ad volume grow by 36.87 per cent for the period from January to May 2009 over the same period last year.

Period
Jan-May 08
Jan-May 09
AD Volumes (Secs ‘000s)
7726
10575
Source: TAM
So does this increase indicate that existing advertisers had increased their spots across the kids channels while channels were unable to attracting new advertisers during the recessionary period?

“Not really. Television is the cheapest medium to reach out to the masses. For every other medium, there is an extra amount to be paid. Manufacturers understand this and they have also recognised our growth. And, thus, even during recession we have doubled our rates,” says Nick’s Nina Elavia Jaipuria.

While Nick claims that despite challenging times the channel quadrupled its sales revenue as advertisers found value in what they offered, Cartoon Network was on course to achieve its yearly targets.

“We’ve added more value for the advertisers with innovative and customised solutions. For example, ‘The Winning Secret’ a contest specially created to build Boost’s association as the energy partner for the Rajasthan Royals that received over 84000 entries! And, ‘Morning Shines’, a customised pre-school programming block specially packaged for Johnsons Baby Top-to-Toe Wash,” says Tata.

Apart from traditional advertisers, broadcasters state that a lot of non-traditional advertisers across sectors like FMCG, investment banks and durable products are also eyeing this space. The rationale behind this, they feel, are an increase in the co-viewing pattern and also the mere pester power of kids who have the ability today to influence parent’s decisions.

“In order to spend time with their kids, parents end up spending a lot of time on the kids channels. Also, animation as a category is today appealing to adults. Thus, a lot of co-viewing is taking place,” explains Jaipuria.

Cartoon Network, meanwhile, claims that over 30 per cent of the channel’s advertisers reach out to its secondary audience (that is 15+) such as Procter & Gamble, Gillette, Johnson & Johnson, Colgate Palmolive, Hindustan Unilevers, Reckitt Benckiser, SC Johnson, Marico, Vodafone, Bharti Airtel, BSNL, LG Electronics, Voltas, Whirlpool, Hitachi, Tata Tea and L’Oreal, amongst others.

Says Tata, “We have a robust portfolio of clients comprising both traditional and non-traditional kids’ marketers with over 165 clients between Cartoon Network and Pogo. We are confident of further upping our non-traditional clientele, as 47 per cent of all viewership for the channels comes from CS 15+ audiences.”

Broadcasters feel that the main factors that have led to the growth of the genre are localisation of content, co-viewing pattern, pester power of kids and taking the medium beyond the television space through licensing and merchandising, on-ground activities, constant promotions, polls, votes and contests.

Local content adds a lot of local flavour to the content and therefore helps in increasing the channels’ stickiness. CN believes that the 20 Indian animation shows/features playing on the channel have worked well for the channel. And its 2009 plan, therefore, is to expand on Indian animation content. For Pogo too the focal point will be to expand its original production.

Similarly, while Disney has managed to establish its brand connect with audiences through its franchises, the ratings have been coming in from locally acquired live action content.

“There has been an effect on ratings, but when it comes to a brand connect with the kids it is with our franchise properties. The best example of this is Hanna Montana. Our endeavour is to build a localised experience through Hanna Montana and our other properties,” says Villeneuve.

All said and done, industry believes that even though the category’s viewership continues to grow, even today it remains hugely under indexed. “As a result, in spite of contributing 7 per cent to the total television viewership, it commands only two per cent of the entire television ad revenue pie. This is because of the baggage that the space has been carrying over the years where advertisers are used to paying to the GECs,” avers Jaipuria.

NDTV Group launches RedDot Productions

April 21, 2009

Backward integration is the new business for the NDTV Group, which runs a general entertainment channel NDTV Imagine. The company has launched its independent production group, called RedDot Productions, which will create and design content for television and interactive media.

With over 5000 hours of active programming under its belt, RedDot Productions will offer a whole array of services like documentaries, corporate films, advertiser-driven audio-visuals, media consultancy, learning aids, training modules and various genres of television programming ranging from travel, lifestyle, youth oriented and reality based shows, at competitive prices.

Dr. Prannoy Roy, chairman, NDTV Group, said, “RedDot is a team of NDTV’s most creative and talented people. It will be producing shows not only for all our channels, but also for other non-NDTV channels. With this launch, RedDot aims at leading the country with path breaking shows and create new standards that will bring world class production qualities to India.”

Richa Sahai, creative head, RedDot Productions, added, “The new unit will broaden the scope of what NDTV is known for within India and overseas. It will be a return to NDTV’s roots and core values of being a lean, efficient set-up run by a team of creative individuals producing high quality programming.”

RedDot Productions’ core team comes with an experience of over a decade in various genres of programming . Apart from the NDTV group, the team has previous work experience with organisations such as Discovery Travel & Living, BBC, ESPN, Star Plus, Sony, Pogo, Zoom and Doordarshan.

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.

TV TOP 10 2008

January 4, 2009

 

 

 

MUMBAI: As 2008 draws to a close, we decided to jot down the “Top 10” highlights in Indian television during the year. The list is not exhaustive and is not chronological nor in order of importance, but it randomly represents what we thought were happenings that impacted the business in a significant manner.

 

1 TV Workers shutdown: The TV industry strike which led to reruns appearing on TV for the first time in the history of Indian television. The strike continued for two weeks, until a settlement was reached wherein producers ended up paying extra for technical, and other crew.

 

 
http://www.indtiger.com

2 General entertainment warfare:The emergence of Colors – a partnership between US media giant Viacom and Indian titan the Network18 group – as a strong No 2 to Star Plus, and a great competitor to Zee TV which was pushed to the No 3 spot. Colors use of differentiated and disruptive programming enamoured viewers and was inspiring imitators as the year was ending. The subdued but consistent performance of NDTV Imagine from the NDTV stable, and the expensive expansion of INX Media under the stewardship of Indrani and Peter Mukerjea, followed by its collapse, and resuscitation all added to the GEC drama.

3 A new programming era: Long running saas-bahu soaps such asKyuunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kasautii Zindagii Kay, Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii – were phased out by Star Plus impacting production superstar Balaji Telefilms to a large extent. It was the end of a long successful partnership even as Ekta Kapoor was battling to bring Balaji back in the success sweepstakes as the year was ending. The year also saw the emergence of Sphere Origin (Balika Vadhu), and Directors Kut (Sapna Babul Ka-Bidaii) as major production powerhouses. Talent hunts and reality shows proliferated during 2008.

4 Cash-rich IPL: A new entertainment format of the game became a runaway success as the largest cricket viewing nation in the world got a taste of the 20-20 over format, and took to like water to a thirsty man. A new sports czar was anointed in IPL commissioner Lalit Modi who believed in the format. And the Sony Entertainment Television group’s gamble paying nearly a billion for its television rights paid off handsomely for its CEO Kunal Dasgupta.

5 Terror Strike on Mumbai: The shocking and unbridled coverage of the Mumbai terror attacks by news television channels and the public outrage against that, followed by a realisation by all concerned that media crises management needs to be understood and implemented by all those involved including government, army, news media etc.

6 DTH spreads: The growth of direct-to-home sector with the launch of Big TV and Airtel Digital TV, along with DD Direct Plus, Tata Sky, DishTV and Sun Direct makes India one of the few multiplatform markets in the world. Low ARPUs still remain a concern.


7 Skyrocketing costs: The runaway increase in cost of producing television. Artiste costs rose as almost every second show signed on celebrities and helped create or rescue careers of no names and has-beens. Distribution costs of channels too rose manifold with cable operators and MSOs demanding unimaginable carriage fees for priority carriage on their networks. Distributor Star Den was promoted by two rival groups Network 18 and Star India even as MSOs like Digicable and DEN made their debuts.

Kalanidhi Maran & M Karunanidhi

8 Peace pipe: As the year was ending, Sun TV’s Kalanidhi and Dayanidhi Maran and his grand uncle DMK chief M Karunanidhi decided to bury their differences and not work against each other. The rapprochement could result in the emergence of an even bigger – almost unsurmountable – powerhouse in the south. This also resulted in a PE firm Nalanda Capital buying seven million shares in Sun TV for Rs 1 billion.

9 The slowdown: The subprime crises in the US lead to a slowdown worldwide. Even though India has been insulated, the pulling out of money from the country lead to a stockmarket crash. It in turn has impacted the balance sheets of big advertising spenders and media companies. The second half of 2009 is expected to bruise media companies badly as corporate India struggles with a slowing economy. Layoffs were becoming rampant as almost every player looked at ways to survive in the imminent tough times.10 Specialisation spread: The year saw the launch of specialized new channels to cater to the needs of upscale and urban audiences. For movie and entertainment buffs it was a feast galore. Showbiz, NDTV Lumiere, World Movies, E24, Firangi, Topper TV, were some of the new specialized niche offerings. The year probably will go down in history as the one which had the maximum launches. How many will survive only time will thrive as the Indian television industry continues to attract investment from both overseas and domestically.

Fresh episodes from December 1 on Hindi GECs

November 28, 2008

After a forced break since November 10, all the Hindi general entertainment channels will resume the telecast of fresh episodes and new content. 

Television viewers who were deprived of their daily dose of entertainment will see their favorite actors return to television, engaging them with new episodes starting December 1, 2008.

Barring a few shows, most channels have begun shooting for all of their programmes in full swing. Some of the Hindi GECs have also utilised this break to revisit their programming strategies.

For Week 47, the TV ratings of Star Plus and Zee TV have dipped significantly even from the last week of repeat programming. Despite this drop in the lead channels, Colors has stayed the same as last week with 199 GRPs.

Keertan Adyanthaya, executive vice-president and general manager, Star Plus, said, “We are pleased to bring fresh content to all our loyal viewers who’ve missed their daily dose of drama, intrigue and realism because of the ongoing strike called by the FWICE and the Producer’s Guild.”

“As grueling as these last few weeks have been, all broadcasters have stood firm on their stand and our commitment to the viewers continues as we once again showcase engaging and entertaining content from December 1.” Keertan said.

The TV’s just got bigger with 500 channels

November 4, 2008

Going by the plans of various media houses, the next 12 months will see 500 channels up from the existing 350-odd channels vying to get a share of the already cluttered broadcast market.

And general entertainment channels (GECs) are still the season’s hot favourites. Star India, with 18 channels in the country, has invested $ 100 million to launch six new channels in the next 12 months. The company has already launched Star Jalsha last month and will launch Star Pravah on November 24.

Big TV has more than a dozen channels in entertainment and non-entertainment spaces as part of its digital TV bouquet. NDTV has announced a few non-news channels, and is venturing into youth and kids’ programming.

In this race, special interest channels are also not far behind. “UTV has plans for several niche channels. There will be travel, lifestyle and others, but no GECs,” says a spokesperson from UTV.

Even the Times Global Broadcasting Service has planned a new business channel by the year-end. INX Media, which is yet to complete the launch of its proposed 12 channels in entertainment and news, defends the broadcast boom.

Indrani Mukerjea

“The market isn’t yet cluttered. That’s why we decided to launch our channels in an unsaturated GEC space. The US had 40-odd GECs, and Europe more than 166 in just four countries, at a time when India had only 12 GECs,” says Indrani Mukerjea, CEO, INX Media.

Mukerjea also points out that there are several factors influencing this heightened interest. “Now, advertisers are channelising their spends to reach more viewers with increasing disposable income. Also, the sustained move to digital forms of distribution will soon break a monopolistic structure and release revenue that’s currently denied to broadcasters by cable operators,” she explains.

But is there really a market for these many channels? “An average working person divides his or her time between, news, sports and entertainment channels. GECs are of interest to homemakers and youngsters, but only between 7 pm and 11 pm,” says Lakshmi M, a PhD scholar researching the trends of soap viewership in India.

Heavy pay packages for TV reporters in Andhra

July 3, 2008

News channels are vying with each other to lure experienced TV reporters with huge pay packages. And reporters are basking in the attention.

Raj Kumar, who was working for a Telugu daily, moved to NTV a year ago. Later, TV5 lured him with better pay and he now works as a business reporter there, even as other channels are making better offers.

With six Telugu news channels on air and another six ready for launch, TV reporters such as Kumar are in great demand. Thanks to this, attrition is at an all-time high in leading news channels in the state.

Teja News logo

TV9, ETV2, NTV, TV5, Teja News and Gemini News channels are already competing with each other and I News, Channel T, Asianet, Sakshi News, Raj TV News, and MAA are waiting in the wings to catch eyeballs.

The new channels are in a hurry to start off since elections are around the corner. All of them want reporters and they are poaching seasoned ones form existing channels by offering triple the salary.

With political parties and industrialists vying with each other to start channels, AP has the highest number of regional news channels in the country. Most political parties want a news channel of their own.

Sakshi TV has already poached more than 10 senior employees from TV9 by offering three times their current salary. To counter this trend, TV9 is planning to hike the pay of its employees.

“We will pay more than Sakshi. They are offering our employees huge pay because we are number one among news channels.” says Raviprakash, CEO, TV9.

There is so much job hopping going on that nobody knows who is working for which channel on a given day. And reporters are enjoying the gold rush.

“There is huge scarcity of quality TV reporters. We plan to recruit at least 300 staff across the state but we are finding it difficult to get good ones.” says Satish Babu, head, Asianet News, which will go on air from August 15.

Media analysts say that there is a large untapped market in the state for news channels. “With the emergence of newer channels, the market is expected to swell further.” says Prof Nageshwar, a media analyst.

The competition is so fierce that some reporters have even been shifting from one yet to be launched channel to another. “A core member of my team left recently. We are recruiting more than 350 employees soon.” says Ramachandra Murthy from Channel T, which will go on air this October.

“The universities don’t supply ready to employ TV reporters. As most of the channels are in a hurry to go on air, there is a crunch.” says Rajasekhar.

Analysts say there are no institutions to train fresh TV reporters and this has prompted channels to poach from their rivals. With more corporate houses planning to launch channels, this demand for TV reporters will only increase.

Sun TV continues off air in Madurai

June 13, 2008

The poaching by Royal Cable Vision (RCV) into Sumangali Cable Vision (SCV) territory increased to a staggering 70 per cent in Madurai city forcing more number of viewers to miss Sun TV’s bouquet of channels. With SCV refusing to give its Sun network signals to RCV, the cable war is only building up by the day.

”We have not compelled anyone to shift from SCV to RCV. The cable operators, who were suffering at the hands of the SCV until now, have grabbed the opportunity after the launch of RCV. Cut up by SCV’s monopoly, the cable operators have volunteered to come under the RCV fold,” RCV officials said.

With 30 head-end operators and 450 link operators, the city has two lakh cable connections. After chief minister M. Karunanidhi’s son Azhagiri launched RCV in the city on Monday, the monopoly of Maran-owned SCV has suffered a severe setback within 74 hours.

Despite SCV refusing to relay its pay channels through RCV, the cable operators are increasingly moving towards the latter unmindful of the viewers who have been denied the opportunity to watch their favourite programmes on Sun.

But the cable operators seem to be happy now. ”They (SCV) have been dictating terms thus far. And we have all along obliged them. Now, it is a turnaround situation where we have been invited by RCV management to share even its profits,” A. M. Kannan, General secretary, Madurai Cable TV Operators Association, said.

Azhagiri has asked the operators to collect charges ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 130 for a cable connection depending upon the locality.

An SCV official said that RCV’s blackout of Sun TV channels has only resulted in a huge demand for Sun Direct. “We are moving additional equipment and technicians to Madurai to meet the demand, which only proves that people want to watch Sun TV at any cost,” he said.