Archive for the ‘Tamil’ Category

Sun TV looks for new broadcast deals in current fiscal

August 21, 2010

After indulging in partnership with DQ Entertainment earlier this year, South India’s premier media entity Sun TV Network is seeking to strike some content broadcasting deals with possible partners in the current fiscal year 2010-2011.

“We run 20 channels so our appetitie for content acquisition is very very high… some of these are with big overseas players and there should at least be 2 or 3 more this year,” Ajay Vidyasagar, chief operating officer, told Reuters in an interview.

Sun TV holds plan of introducing a kids channel in Malayalam language in coming future.

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.

‘Chithiram’, the Tamil kids channel to start soon

June 8, 2010

Adding another sting to its bow, Kalaignar TV is all set to come up with a new channel dedicated to the kids of Tamil Nadu. ‘Chithiram’, the new channel will cater to the entertainment, information and education needs of children of Tamil state. The broadcasting operations of channel will start from 3rd June. All the arrangements for its launch to be completed by the set date.

Since its inception in the year 2007, Kalaignar TV has expanded its ambit of channels in various segments. At the moment, the channels possesses a fleet of 5 channels in state and with the launching of Chithiram, the number will go up to 6. Kalaignar TV, Isai Aruvi, Seythigal, Sirippoli, Kalaignar Asia are the channels constituting the whole group.

Catering to various genres such as comedy, news, general entertainment and music, Kalaignar is foraying in kids section with Chithiram. The content of this channel will be concentrated around cartoons and animation. However, some in-house content of Kalaignar TV will also be telecast on the channel. Moreover, ties ups have been done with international shows like Zodiac Kingdom, Kung Fu Story and Ruffs Patch.

Other information regarding the content of channel has been provided to by the channel. Chithiram will focus on educating and entertaining kids in their own language Tamil. The channel will provide educational stuff related to Tamil culture.

Hello FM is now Radio Hello FM

August 13, 2009

Keeping an eye on the phase III FM rollout, Hello (106.4) FM, owned by Malar Publications Group, has changed its name to Radio Hello (106.4) FM. The Tamil Nadu-based radio venture, which till now was more inclined towards the Tamil language, has decided to focus on colloquial language.

Rajeev Nambiar, chief executive officer and president, Radio Hello FM, explains to us that the radio station was better known by its frequency rather than the brand name. However, as the brand equity is built now, it was the right decision to focus on brand name rather than frequency.

Nambiar says, “We decided to reduce the usage of regional language, when and where it is not required. While we still continue to be a Tamil-centric station, we are dropping heavy Tamil words and will now use many of the English phrases.”

Nambiar adds that the radio station will now focus on metro Tamil audience rather than the rural Tamil segment. The rebranding effort started since the end of July across all the stations of the group in cities such as Chennai, Kovai, Madurai, Tiruchirapalli, Nellai, Tuticorin and Puducherry.

The FM station has renamed its breakfast show as Hello Cafe. For the 11 pm-12 am slot, it has launched a new show, called Hello Gramophone, which is about nostalgic retro numbers.

For the programming on the station, the channel has also tied up with BBC Radio, whereby the latter will provide 90 second capsules throughout the day on Bollywood, sports, lifestyle and other topics. The show is called Hello Nimisham BBC Vishayam, and will go on air from August 17.

Recently, the station has also started a radio contact activity, called Aircel College Semastar, wherein the radio jockeys (RJs) of all the stations of Radio Hello will go to 91 colleges across Tamil Nadu and identify about 5,000 people, who could probably make their mark in the field of radio.

Malaysian billionaire T. Ananda Krishnan steps up foray into India media

August 12, 2009

MELBOURNE-educated Malaysian billionaire T. Ananda Krishnan is stepping up his media foray into the Indian market, adding an increased stake in a radio network last week to his existing interests in television and mobile telephony.
Astro targets booming India media

Expansion: Billionaire T. Ananda Krishnan’s Astro All Asia Networks is targeting India media. Picture: Bloomberg
Krishnan’s main listed media and entertainment arm, Astro All Asia Networks, paid just over $20 million on August 4 to lift its stake from 7 per cent to 20 per cent in the Sun FM radio network that runs more than 40 FM radio stations across India.

Sun FM is owned by one of India’s richest men, Chennai-based media tycoon Kalanithi Maran, whose Sun TV Network attracts the biggest audiences in the south with multiple channels in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada languages.

Astro already owns 20 per cent of Maran’s Sun Direct TV, a direct-to-home (DTH) broadcaster that is picking up subscribers rapidly as the DTH distribution model becomes more popular in India.

At Astro’s annual general meeting presentation in Kuala Lumpur last month, chief financial officer Grant Ferguson said Astro aimed to become a “preferred partner” for media companies across Asia. He said the large underdeveloped media and entertainment markets in the region would provide possible opportunities for Astro’s expansion.

Regional radio and television is booming in India’s south, with Rajesh Jain, KPMG’s Mumbai-based head of communications and information for India, telling The Australian recently that regional media is attracting a host of investments from established players and venture capitalists.

Even with the recent downturn in advertising, KPMG estimates that India’s television revenue nationwide will grow from 262.7 billion rupees ($6.6bn) this year to 472.6 billion rupees ($11.85bn) by 2013. The much-smaller radio market will likely grow from 9.2 billion rupees ($230 million) this year to 16.3 billion rupees ($408m) by 2013.

Jain said investors, marketers and advertisers were drawn by the largely untapped consumer market in Indian regional “tier one” cities with populations of one to four million and “tier three” cities with populations of 500,000 to one million.

Ananda Krishnan has long had an interest in India’s south, stemming from his ethnic Tamil background and family origins in Sri Lanka. His grandfather migrated from what was then British-ruled Ceylon to Malaysia to work as a public servant.

Krishnan, who was born in Kuala Lumpur in 1938 and is based there, keeps a low profile and holds no executive positions in the four major Malaysian companies he controls: Astro All Asia Networks, satellite operator Measat Global, mobile phone company Maxis Communications and the diversified power, property and gaming entity Tanjong. His main holding companies are Binariang GSM and Usaha Tegas.

The unlisted Maxis, Malaysia’s largest mobile phone company, is involved in India through its 74 per cent holding in Chennai-based mobile carrier Aircel — a stake bought for $1.4bn in January 2006 and now thought to be worth around $5bn. Aircel, which has 20 million subscribers, is particularly strong in Tamil Nadu state but aims to be a fully fledged national operator by the end of this year.

Krishnan took Maxis private in 2007 to spare minority shareholders the risk associated with overseas expansion, but there has been renewed speculation in Kuala Lumpur this month that he will move to relist Maxis on the Malaysian stock exchange before the year is out. A key shareholder is Saudi Telecom Co, which already has a 25 per cent stake in Maxis.

Ananda Krishnan, who graduated from Melbourne University on a Colombo Plan scholarship and later did his MBA at Harvard University, is regarded as Malaysia’s second richest man, with a fortune estimated by Forbes magazine earlier this year at $US7bn ($8.5bn).

Apart from his media, entertainment and gaming interests in Malaysia and India, he holds a 20 per cent stake in British regional newspaper chain Johnston Press, which produces 18 daily newspapers, 330 weekly titles and their associated websites in the UK and Ireland. He also owns one of Australia’s best known thoroughbred racing studs, Kia Ora, near the Hunter Valley town of Scone.

Arasu Cable Corporation ceases to exist in Tamil Nadu

July 26, 2009

The hope with which cable TV operators joined the Tamil Nadu government promoted Arasu Cable Corporation (ACC), promising a cheaper alternative to subscribers, at the height of the feud within the state’s first family is fast receding.

Now that the 2007 conflict between Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi’s family and his grand-nephews, the Maran brothers, has ended, cable operators, who joined the state-run entity feel they have been left in the lurch.

Industry sources say they are battling political pressure to quit ACC and join one of the larger Multi System Operators (MSO) functioning across the state. Some cable operators in Tirunelveli and Vellore complained that they had to leave ACC owing to political pressure.

ACC is now on the verge of collapse, with just one or two operators in Tirunelveli, Vellore and Thanjavur still on its network, while many quitting the cable corporation in Coimbatore from around March this year in the wake of a police complaint by ACC against the Maran-run private operator, Sumangali Cable Vision (SCV) for allegedly cutting ACC cables.

A senior SCV official declined to comment on this story and asked WE to contact Kalanidhi Maran. Maran could not be reached on telephone. An email sent to his office remained unanswered.

“They (ACC) have virtually shut down operations in Vellore and Tirunelveli. All the infrastructure created by the government will end up as liabilities.” says, Shakilan, president, Tamil Nadu Cable TV Operators’ Welfare Association.

“In Thanjavur, about 200 operators are still trying to stick on to ACC but in Coimbatore, almost all cable operators have gone back to private networks. All operators want the CM to fulfill promises made to them last year and protection provided to them.” Shakilan adds.

“We still believe in the concept of ACC. Cable operators are virtually on the brink of collapse. ACC would help us survive. They have extremely good digital quality pictures and a well established network,” an cable TV operator said.

“We fear for our future in the cable business, if ACC cable does not take the steps it promised. We even asked for the equipment to be given on lease to us. But the government is not willing to do even that,” another operator in Vellore said.

Senior government officials, when contacted, indicated that some announcement was in the offing, but declined to talk about ACC’s plans. ACC was in fact expected to begin operations in Chennai in September 2008 itself, but there is no sign of the rollout happening.

Even the policy note tabled in the Assembly on Monday has no mention of the ACC’s plans for Chennai. “Arasu Cable Corporation has set up digital head-ends at Thanjavur, Tirunelveli, Coimbatore and Vellore utilising state-of-the-art equipment. Arasu is carrying out works in the districts to facilitate distribution of the signals,” the policy note said.

We has recently reported that Hathway Datacom, the Rajan Raheja-owned multi system operator, has discontinued its cable TV services in Chennai. TheO, which had a 10 per cent share of the city’s cable TV market, stated that SCV, had left theO with no choice but to close operations.

Sun Pictures shines with smash Tamil hits

July 19, 2009

Sun Pictures, the film production arm of Sun TV Network, has some reason to cheer. Having forayed into film production, acquisition and distribution less than a year ago, six out of the seven Tamil films acquired and released by the leading media company have turned out to be hits, including two that have been declared as smash hits.

Venturing into films Kaadhalil through Vizhundhein, Sun Pictures has since acquired and distributed Thenaavattu, Dindugal Sarathy, Padikkaadhavan, Thee, Ayan and Maasilamani. Except Thee, where the distributors lost about15 per cent of their investments or the print and publicity costs, every other film has given handsome returns to the distributors.

Among the hits, Ayan and Kaadhalil Vizhundhein have been declared as smash hits. While Ayan, acquired at a cost of Rs 18 crore, is expected to gross about Rs 50 crore and fetch a distributors’ share of over Rs 25 crore from all territories, Kaadhalil Vizhundhein, acquired for Rs 3.5 crore, collected a distributors’ share of Rs 8.5-9.2 crore.

“Sun Pictures looks for basic entertainment value in the films that they acquire With an eye on attracting the family audience, they shun films with excessive violence or sex. That’s the secret of the success of their portfolio of films,” says K S Mahalingam, head, distribution, AGS Entertainment, that distributes Sun Pictures’ films in Tamil Nadu.

While three films were small budget ones, Padikaadhavan and Ayan were big budget ones, where the acquisition costs ranged between Rs 14-18 crore. Now, it has again turned its attention on small budget films starting with Maasilamani.

“Once Sun acquires a film from the original producer, it palms it off territory-wise to a set of distributors at a marginal profit. As a result, there is no big increase in cost as the film changes hands. Where it actually gains is the satellite rights of the film, which it gets at almost nil cost.” says a veteran distributor, who did not wish to be named.

Later, it then turns its attention to aggressive marketing and the network, being an established media empire, comes handy in taking this across all segments of the media – television, radio and print.

“They are smart marketing people and the fact that they have a successful media empire gives them complete control over the campaign. Hence, their success rate is not surprising, only a failure will be surprising,” says G Dhananjayan, chief operating officer, entertainment business, Moser Baer Entertainment.

Hathway Datacom discontinues its services in Chennai

July 19, 2009

Hathway Datacom, the Rajan Raheja-owned multi system operator (MSO), has discontinued its cable TV services in Chennai. Employees who were working at Hathway’s Chennai office have confirmed the development.

The MSO, which had a 10 per cent share of the city’s cable TV market, stated that Sumangali Cable Vision (SCV), a division of Sumangali Publications Ltd, which owns a major chunk of the Sun TV network, had left the MSO with no choice but to close operations.

SCV is an MSO offering services on the conditional access system (CAS) in Chennai and Hathway was its only rival. There are around 4-5 lakh subscribers in the city, with more than 1,000 cable operators, according to industry representatives.

P. S. Lakshmanan, who looks after Hathway’s Chennai operations, declined to comment on the development, when queried by us. Hathway officials in Mumbai were also unavailable for comments despite repeated attempts were made to contact them.

Last year, In Chennai, Hathway had issued about 50,000 free set-top boxes (STBs) worth about Rs 50 crore. A spokesperson of Cable TV Urimayalaargal Sangam, an association of the cable operators, said that the company failed due to mismanagement and aggressive investment in STBs and promotional offers of free boxes.

With Hathway stopping operations in Chennai, SCV is expected to have a monopoly. SCV, a network owned by Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanidhi Maran of the Sun TV group, has a market share of 90 per cent in the city.

In Tamil Nadu, the DMK Government had also started an MSO called Arasu Cable Network, which everyone thought would take over the entire cable TV industry, including SCV and Hathway. But, after a patch-up between the Maran’s and Karunanidhi’s families, the takeover plan was not initiated and Hathway began to face resistance from SCV.

Murali Raaman joins Polimer Media as CEO

July 19, 2009

Murali Raaman, vice-president, programmes and operations, Jaya TV, has joined as chief executive officer, Polimer Media. He will be reporting to PV Kalyanasundaram, chairman and managing director, Polimer Media.

With Polimer TV, the Polimer Media Group is foraying into the Tamil satellite television space. The channel would go on air towards the end of August, 2009, according to Raaman. Chennai-based Fifth Estate Communications is handling the creative duties for Polimer TV.

In his new role, Raaman’s responsibility would be to see through the launch of the Polimer’s channel besides creating content that can woo audience from the Sun TV and other dominant channels.

Raaman started his career with Sun TV as programming manager in 1992. Later, he had his first stint with Jaya TV in 1994 as programming manager, when he had spent three years with the channel.

Then he moved to Jain Satellite channel. He also had a stint with Ess Pee Associates, New Delhi, where he served as creative director and consultant on a project for Astro Vannavil, Malaysia.

For the record, Polimer Media is one of the largest multi-system operators in Tamil Nadu and is said to be leader in places like Coimbatore and Salem. The company has been successfully running local cable television channels in Salem and Coimbatore for the past several years.

Ajay Vidyasagar joins Sun TV Network as COO

July 1, 2009

After taking a break of two months, Ajay Vidyasagar has joined Sun TV Network as chief operating officer (COO). Vidyasagar has confirmed the development to and says that he has taken over the new role from July 15.

Prior to joining Sun TV, he was associated with Star India as president, content and new media, where he worked for 14 years.

Vidyasagar started his stint with Star India in 1996 and has been a part of the Chennai team of the network. After some time, he shifted to Mumbai, where he was part of the company’s marketing team. During his tenure with Star, he was also the commercial director of Channel [V], the music channel of the network.

In 2000, when Star India acquired Vijay TV, a Tamil general entertainment channel (GEC), Vidyasagar moved down south as head of the group’s regional business, where he was appointed general manager, regional channels, Star India.

In 2004, Vidyasagar went back to Mumbai to head the marketing function of Star India as executive vice-president and was later promoted as president, content and new media, his last designation with the group.

It was during his stint that Star Plus launched the second season of the country’s most popular game show, Kaun Banega Crorepati, after a gap of four years. The same year, Star Network also came up with its second GEC, Star One.

Vidyasagar is known to have used several innovative marketing strategies to promote the Star Network’s channels. Also, during his tenure with the group, he headed the licensing and merchandising functions of Star.

As head of Star India’s new media function, he was responsible for the overall operations of the Internet business of the network. He has also dabbled in advertising and was associated with O&M, Bangalore, where he spent about six years; he left the agency as account director.