Saturday, August 15, 2009

Rambha's Swayamvara ??

Just in case actress Rambha manages to find a groom for herself of her liking, she should be thanking none but Rakhi Sawant for this. Bollywood actress and 'item girl' Rakhi Sawant hosted a much-publicised swayamvar on a popular Hindi channel for some months through which she 'selected' her beau recently by garlanding him 'live' on the channel. Rambha, out of favour with producers and directors now, is said to be contemplating a similar style of groom-hunt soon.

Rambha is said to have already begun talks through her brother Vasu to host the swayamwaram on a popular Tamil channel. Rambha, who is said to have already been on the groom-hunt for the past many years, had been seeking celestial help too by visiting many temples. Probably, she might have felt the need for a 'different' kind of groom-search and that's when the Rakhi Sawant-mode of selection caught her fancy.

The television channel is planning to host the swayamvaram in the form of a mega-show. The revenue earned through the show, however, would be split between Rambha and the channel. We can only hope and wish that the ravishing Rambha turns out as successful as Rakhi in her groom-search!

Which channel will be taking off from here ?? Vijay TV are you listening ??

Ethu Suthanthiram ? - Video

Here it goes.. Ethu Suthanthiram , show hosted by Jegan

Independence day special..

There were lots of programs lined up as Independence day special in Vijay TV and most of them were really good. But, if we look at the schedule, few programs are not really special for independence day but still announcements were in line as they are special programs and meant for independence day. Programs like Samayal Samayal, Boys Vs Girls, Anu alavum bayam illai, Paatu Paadava were regular weekend realty shows but still they had a prefix I-day special. Okay, lets see what happened in these programs..

Sweet Samayal
It was sweet samayal in Samayal Samayal show today. ACtor Shiva who had won last week episode was back for his next round in the competition. The topic for the day was to prepare sweets.

Anu alavum Bayam illai
This show had non competitive round on behalf of independence day special episode. It was fun filled round in the compeition.

Paatu Paadava
This was still in competitive rounds only. Playback singers Sriram and Madhumitha will be performing today.

Boys Vs Girls
Boys Vs Girls also had competitive rounds in the competition. Thank god this show was not announced to be non competitive.

Less Speech !!!

I have seen some episodes of Leoni's Pattimandram and usually they are little early in the scheduel so I tend to miss them many times. Today, I had opportunity to see the show and it was quite okay. I dont know why the participants were not speaking for long duration. Most of them had very short debate and I have not seen such small debating points being spoken. I thought in Neeya Naana, people would have spoken more than these participants. But, some of the points were really good and enjobale but it was not so good experience.

Sirappu Parvai - QGM & Eeram

We have been having few shows that showcases with interviews/audio launch of movies that are being released. Today on the ocassion of Independence day there was sirappu parvai on Qucik Gun Murugan and Eram. Qucik Gun Murugan that is all set to release this month end has Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Rambha acting in the film.

Eram, being produced by Shankar had the audio launch being done by superstar Rajinikanth. The event also had directors Myskin, Sasikumar.. this show had some of the clippings of the audio launch event where Rajinikanth, Shankar, Sasikumar spoke a few words. Rajinikanth said that Eindhiran is almost 85 % complete.. so I am waiting for its release ;)...

Here is the video of both of these sirappu parvai..

Ethu Suthanthiram ??

I liked this program very much. I absolutely loved the way Jegan carried over the show. Jegan's slang and communication strength is very effective which we saw in his shows and films ;).. This show is meant to ask ourselves what is freedom ? Which is freedom ?? Jegan came in a cowboy costume with pistol in his hand and pointing out mistakes that public do in everyday life and asked whether this is what freedom is meant for.

The prgram was for 30 minutes but still there were many advices being given to public and questions asked "Ethu Suthanthidram ? Ithuva suthanthiram ??". Jegan introduced himself as Quick Gun Murugan and spoke about these bad environmental habits. There was also video being shown where public who violate the rule or pollutes the environment is shown. It started with Drink & Drive from Tasmac, Wearing Helmet, Over speeding, Footboard travelling, Crossing railway gate when gate is closed, Misuse of Cell phone, Blue tooth, Film Piracy, Misuse of Internet, Toilet in Public places. I think the show would have made many of them to think for a while and at least few of them to not to do it again. I will post the video soon.

Neeya Naana - I-Day Special Video

Neeya Naana - Independence Day special

Rich gets Richer, Poor gets Poorer

Best Cheering Team

From this week, there is a new award being introduced in Boys Vs Girls Season 2. With the teams already betting on money and competing and the winners are going to be decided only based on the money that they have in hand. There will be a team selected either of Boys and Girls being awarded as Best Cheering team by the judges. Whomever wins this title for that week will get Rs 5,000 added into their account. I am not sure whether this transaction will be between the team's account balance or a give away amount for the teams. Will get to know today after the competition gets over.

Super Hero Chiyaan - Video

Meena joins Boys Vs Girls

Actress Meena had joined Vijay TV's Boys Vs Girls, south India's top dance realty show.. The season 2 of the show started around a month back and it had lot of new contestants joining in both Boys and Girls team. Judges for the show were new and it was actor Shyam and actress Sanghavi. This week Meena had come in place of Sanghavi. Similar thing happened in last season even when Namitha came for first few weeks and disappeared. Later, it was Mumtaz who took over from there but in the middle there were few heroines who came in for 1 week to judge the performances. This time, its really unknown whether Meena will continue to be the judge. But, the way she spoke meant that she would be continuing to judge the show. This is really bad that Vijay TV is not able to maintian their hosts/judges for their realty shows. Anyone knew what could be the reason ??

Leoni Pattimandram - Video

Leoni Pattimandram - Independence Day special

Friday, August 14, 2009

News channels unveil special programming for Independence Day

On the occassion of the 62nd Independence Day, news channels have planned to give its viewers a patriotic treat.

NDTV Network has lined up a series of “thought-provoking shows” for its viewers. NDTV 24X7, the English news channel from the network, will air The Legends at 5:30 pm to pay tribute to the classical musicians. At 8 pm, the channel will have The Big Fight that will showcase a debate on the Indo-Pak Relationship: 62 years after. The show, hosted by Vikram Chandra from India and Munizae Jahangir from Karachi, will have a panel comprising representatives from major political parties and audiences from both the countries. At 10.30 pm, it will air Jai Jawaan with Abhishek Bachchan in his journey to Kargil. Hindi news channel, NDTV India, will air a documentary, Kargil Ki Kahani, Air Force Ki Zubani, at 1.30 pm. The documentary features the Indian Air Force and its role in Kargil, 10 years ago. The special highlights the tale of lone survivors and families of Air Force martyrs, from Sirsawa, Bhatinda and Gwalior. The channel will air Jai Jawaan at 9.30 pm and Azaadi Ki Udaan at 11.30 pm.

IBN18 channels – CNN IBN and IBN7 too have lined up specials for I-Day. The network is launching its bi-annual nationwide poll, State of the Nation, which returns in its eighth edition. IBN7’s show line-up also includes Vande Mataram, Jhanda Ooncha Rahe Humara, Independence Musical and India Rocks. The channel will air the findings of the poll (State of Nation) with the one-hour debate at 8 pm. Vande Mataram will trace the journey of national anthem since the pre-independence era till now. The show will be aired at 9 am and 5:30 pm.

Jhanda Ooncha Rahe Humara, at 10:30 am, 2:30 pm and 6:30 pm will feature sports history to witness events that have held the nation’s attention. The show recounts the greatest sports victories we have achieved in the field of cricket, hockey, tennis, boxing, shooting and in other sports. Independence Day Musical will be a musical tribute by child artists from popular television shows. India Rocks, at 12 noon, is an emotional and musical tribute to India, aired every Independence Day & Republic Day. This season, the show will feature poems and songs sent by children about one thing they would like to change about India or anything in their life.

IBN7 managing editor Ashutosh said, “This Independence Day, we would like to commemorate the sacrifice of our martyrs along with our present day victories which have made India shine. Therefore, we have planned our shows with a right mix of patriotism and entertainment and we are confident that viewers will appreciate the programming, making this Independence Day a memorable one." The other programmes on CNN IBN include India Rocks- Children of Change, Rewind to 47, Secret Kitchen Flavours of 47, The 1947 Quiz and a special episode on The Citizen Journalist Show. At 12 noon, the channel will air Rewind to 47, a show on people who were around in 1947. The show will have celebrities like Dev Anand, Zohra Segal, Alyque Padamsee, Ruskin Bond, Soli Sorabjee, Milkha Singh, Narendar Singh Sarila (ADC to Lord Mountbatten), the former King of Travancore and Saraswati Rajamani (oldest surviving female soldier in Netaji’s Indian National Army). Said CNN IBN editor-in-chief Rajdeep Sardesai, "Our programming on the Independence Day is especially designed for viewers which will present news and views with a touch of entertainment. We are certain that our viewers will find the special shows refreshing, thinking and forward looking."

Times Now, too has a slew of special programming lined up. This includes Midnight’s Children, Total Recall-India @ 62, The Foodie at National Defence Academy Pune, Heroes of Freedom and Frankly Speaking. Not lagging behind, NewsX also has planned special programmes that will reflect on the last 62 years of independence. These include two primetime shows- Midnight Nations and Freedom Actually. Midnight Nations on 14 August at 9 pm brings together experts and personalities from India and Pakistan to discuss the co-existence of the two nations since their independence. The studio-based panel discussion will have experts such as Vikram Sood (Ex Raw), G Parthasarthy, Saeed Naqvi, (Rt) Gen Shankar Roy Choudhury from India and Jugnu Moshim (senior journalist), (Rt) Gen Talat Masood, Hamir Mir (senior journalist) and filmmaker Seema Bawvra from Pakistan. Freedom Actually on 15 August at 9 pm will bring together guests like Salman Khurshid, Aijaz Ilmi and Vir Sanghvi to discuss the true sense of freedom. The channel will also host a series of capsules in three different segments- Historic Milestones, Freedom and on Celebrity Bites.


Independence day special to be Non Competitive

Anu alavum bayam illai, the latest challenge show with 7 women will have special show for independence day and there wont be any elimination in the show this week. This week again, it would be kind of practice or fun round where the contestants have their self confidence increased and get themselves strengthened. This week it is going to be in water.. might be in the sea and having the contestants doing some tasks in there. Lets see how it goes..

Ujjaini Eliminated

Last week it was the first competitive round in Anu alavum Bayamillai. It was very scary for me to see the episode. I am very scared with snakes and that made me not to see the show fully. But, I guess it was a very good job done by the ladies out there... I was really shocked when they were in the box which has lots of snakes for more than 20 minutes... really Incredible !!! How did you guys felt on this round ?

Having said it has the competitive round, there was elimination even. Playback singer Ujjaini was eliminated from the show in this round. The task was to be in the box for 1 minute with snakes. But, she was not ready to do the task since she is afraid of Snakes a lot. I liked the way she said "I love myself a lot and I dont want to take risk". Anu tried her best to make her participate in the round but she was not convinced to take up the challenge.

Whats up with Hemamalini-Yogendran

Yugendran and his wife Hemamalini now enter Jaya TV with a bang. "En Aasai Unnoduthan" is a new reality show being started in Jaya TV. This show is meant for couples. The program interviews couples and get to know their desires. The crew try to make an attempt to fulfill these desires of the couple. This program is in screening stage and should started very soon in Jaya TV.

Leaving this aside, the duo have started a production house called Rambutan Productions, which currently produce two shows for a Singapore channel and would go in the channel from August.

Here comes the Captain TV

Three news and current affairs television channels have been approved by the government including Raftar TV and Captain TV. In the latest batch of eight TV channels that won approval, there is a Marathi music channel and a multi-lingual south Indian music and entertainment channel. Discovery had also got the nod to launch three channels - Discovery Science, Discovery Turbo and Discovery HD. Ranchi-based Raftar Media will launch Raftar TV, a Hindi news channel. It will soft launch on 19 August, a source from the channel informs Indiantelevision.

Captain TV, the upcoming Tamil channel by Captain Media Pvt Ltd, is owned by actor turned politician Vijayakanth, founder of DMDK (Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam), and popularly known as Captain.

Media Worldwide, which also runs Hindi music channel Music India, and Bangla and Bhojpuri music channels Sangeet Bangla and Sangeet Bhojpuri, will launch Sangeet Marathi. "Once we get the ministry clearance, our Marathi music channel Sangeet Marathi will be launched within 90 days. The content of the channel will include predominantly music and some youth-oriented programming," Media Worldwide director Prashant Chotani tells Indiantelevision. Meanwhile, Simply Spice will be a multi-lingual channel, offering music and entertainment in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. "The channel will be launched very soon," says Clement Ventures MD F Usman Faheed.


45 from Fancy Dress Round

It was 45 kids being selected from the 70 contestants for the next competitive round in Airtel Super Singer Junior 2.. Initially there were many contestants selected but later there were many kids being waitlisted. Finally with the judges selecting some more contestants from the waiting list, the overall count became 45. I think from next week the show would be in studios.. and no more hotel ;) There was promotional video for the next week's episode & it looks like the judges would remain same.. Mahathi, Unni Menon and Pop shalini. But, not sure about the host.. will it be DD or will the show be taken over by Yugendran & Malini ??? There was lot of MP3 being given to contestants.. I am sure that will be very much motivating the kids to perform still better. I dont know the exact number of kids who won the best dressed award and MP 3 player but I guess it would be over 50.

Before the end of show, DD said that she will meet in some other time in Airtel Super Singer Junior show.. so that might make Yugendran couple to join again in the show.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Independence Day special programs.

Vijay TV Independence Day 15th August 2009 programs

8.00 AM
Actor Sivakumar speaking about the greatness of Tamil language.

9.00 AM
‘Sirappu Pattimandram’ with Leoni

10.00 AM
‘Super Hero Chiyan’ actor Vikram interviewed by DD

11.00 AM
Special Neeya Naana - ‘The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.’

2.00 PM
‘Samayal Samayal’ hosted by Devadarshini & Priyadarshini with actors Shiva and Arulmani as competitors.

3.00 PM
Jackie Chan’s ‘The Myth’.

6.00 PM
‘Desathukku Vaanga’- celebrities Surya, Iraianbu IAS, Communist MP Lingam, Shylendra Babu (IPS) and Dr. Parthasarathy speak about the social causes they are engaged in.

7.00 PM
Special ‘Adhu Idhu Edhu’ with actors Senthil, Pandiyarajan and Livingston.

Pay and get the unreleased film DVD at your doorstep

Kolam is a new effort made in the film industry. This novel attempt aims to bridge the gap between the filmmakers and the audiences directly. According to the new initiative, the organizers plan to release three to five films every year in the DVD format. All that the movie buffs need to do is to send Rs. 500 to the Kolam Foundation, which will be utilized for the filming purpose. Soon after the entire film is shot, it will be put in a DVD format and sent to the payee directly.

Most of the films released in the DVD format will be based on social awareness inspired by some of the famous novels and stories. Director K Balachander is the chief guest at the inaugural function that is to be held at the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce complex on August 13th at 6:30 pm. Directors Mahendran and Balu Mahendra will participate at the event.

TV show streaming in US increases dramatically: Study

People in the US with Internet access are streaming more TV shows and movies than ever before. Recent data from Ipsos MediaCT’s Motion study illustrates that in the past 30 days, 26 per cent of online Americans have streamed a full-length TV show while 14 per cent have streamed a full-length movie. This is more than two times the levels measured in September, 2008. Not surprisingly, young adults of 18 to 24 years have been the most ardent supporters of this medium. In the past 30 days, 30 per cent have streamed a full-length movie and 51 per cent have streamed a full-length TV show, which represent dramatic increases over last year. The rapid rise in longer form video streaming can be attributed to the swift growth of many digital video websites since last year. Hulu, in particular, has experienced heightened exposure and visitation, and has helped pioneer the transition to ad-supported free streaming of TV shows and movies.

Now that the ad-supported content model is taking off, content providers will be challenged to monetise their content through alternative fee-based methods given the acceptance of the ad-supported or “free” model. In addition, content providers will need to understand the appropriate level of advertising that streamers will be willing to tolerate for their content. Ipsos MediaCT senior research manager Brian Pickens says, “The digital video revolution is no longer centered on short clips via YouTube; it is becoming an important distribution channel where any type of full-length video can be instantly accessed for immediate consumption without a fee."

This is not to say that digital video is replacing television. Currently, the average American with Internet access watches 15 hours of television per week, compared to less than two hours on their PC. Furthermore, even among digital video users, 64 per cent would rather watch hour-long dramas and half-hour comedies live on their TV than rent or purchase them, or watch them on their PC or portable device. Clearly, the TV is still preferred, especially considering the rapid growth of HDTV, now in 41 per cent of homes with Internet access.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Its Deepak's wedding..

This week in Namma Veetu kalyanam it will be featuring Deepak's marriage... yeah host of Jodi No 1 and now Boys Vs Girls Deepak of Deepak-DD fame ;). Deepak is meant for his nice sense of humour when hosting the shows and really makes the shows interesting. I still remember the way he reacted when Samira Reddy danced with him Jodi No 1 season 3 and when Namitha told him "vaaya Mood" in Boys Vs Girls. In Promotional videos, it was shown as Deepak saying his marraige was "Lovely arranged marriage and after which he fell in love with his wife" in his style ;)..

DD's Golden jubilee celebrations with Rahman concert

The Golden Jubilee celebrations of Doordarshan got off to a grand start here with a live concert featuring the Oscar-winning A R Rahman apart from popular singers Hariharan and Kailash Kher. ‘A R Rahman Unplugged’ was meant to be a curtain-raiser for the Golden Jubilee Celebrations which will commence on 15 September and continue for a full year. Doordarshan had commenced telecasts on 15 September 1959 with a one-hour daily transmission.

Speaking on the occasion, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said after the first landmark in 1959, Doordarshan had grown to become the world’s largest terrestrial television network. It had gone colour in 1982 on the occasion of the Ninth Asian Games, and will adapt to High Definition Television (HDTV) to coincide with the Commonwealth Games next month. She noted that Doordarshan was being seen in 3500 million households in the country. She also felicitated Rahman, who won two Oscars for the music in the film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, with a shawl and a memento.

Earlier, Doordarshan Director General Aruna Sharma told a news conference that the opening event will be in Mumbai on 15 September and programmes will be held in different Kendras. There will also be a concert in Delhi . In addition, there will be several discussions looking back at the growth of Doordarshan, and the final one on 15 September 2010 will examine sports evens, in view of the Commonwealth Games. She claimed that with the help of DTH and satellite TV, Doordarshan was reaching the entire country. Rahman announced that he would shortly be doing a reality show based on music with Doordarshan. K R Harish, Managing Director of Phat Phish India which put the concert together for Doordarshan, also spoke on the occasion. Kher had the nearly-full auditorium at the Sirifort Complex swinging to his songs as he rendered some of his own numbers and some which had been originally sung by others for Rahman. He was accompanied by his group Kailasa. Some of the numbers rendered by him included ‘Mangal Mangal Ho’, ‘Chak de Phatte’, ‘Maula’, ‘Yeh jo des hai tera’ and ‘Rang de basanti’.

He was followed by Sivamani, who enthralled the entire hall with his magical performance with percussion instruments, moving his hands from one percussion instrument to another and producing foot-tapping music. Rahman performed on the piano as Hariharan and Sadhna Sargam sang some of the songs composed by him including numbers from ‘Roja’ and ‘ Bombay ’. Students of Rahman’s K M Conservatory in Chennai also performed on the occasion in choral singing of both Hindustani and western music. The recorded programme will be telecast exclusively on Doordarshan later.

Whats up with SS Jr ??

This week in the Super Singer Junior 2 show.. its the competition between the top 70 contestants. It wil be a different round where the kids will be dressed like hero/heroine who appear in the song they choose. Could be termed as "Fancy Dress Round". The best dressed kids will be awarded and given a MP3 player as prize even. Good na.. Having said that, I was expecting to reasonable number of kids to be in that fashion but to my surprise almost 80 to 90 % of kids were dressed exactly like the actors and they were too cute. Many kids are winning best dressed kid award and they take away MP3 player.

Whos in this round ?

This level of the competition has the same judges Mahathi, Unni Menon and Pop Shalini judging the kids and Divyadarshini aka DD hosting the show with the same charm. This week there is no television for the parents to see the performances of the kids and they get the status only when kids completes the performance.

Leoni's Pattimandram

With Leoni's pattimandram being a favourite show in auspicious/festival days, there was announcement being made in the channel that entry for the pattimandram is free. It was supposed to be held on 10th august, 2009 at 6 PM @ Raja Annamalai mandram and its been scheduled for independence day programs. Did any of you guys went on for it ?? I wished to see pattimandram live but didnt had a chance to see it.

Employers Vs Employees

It was an entertaining show in Neeya Naana when the employers were questioned directly by the employees. In some instance, employers were tight lipped and unable to answer even and it was Gopinath who was slightly on the side of employees. Marxist leader Ponmudi and Mill owner Paranthaman were the special guest who spoke for employees and employers. The show started with usual charm that Gopinath had brought in and followed by problems being faced by the employees. Then, the topic went on to saralies, appraisals where there were many issues being raised against employers. Salary increase and promotions are based on regionalism, religionalism, language was the point raised by employees and its true in many places. Finally for a question where "with 2 interview candidates who are equally talented but 1 of them is looking good, whom will you select".. this made a turnaround as half of the employers said they will recruit only the candidate who is looking good. It was a good topic but not to be said as an eye opener..

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

DTH operators face tax pressures

More States to bring the service under entertainment tax net.

Home entertainment may soon cost more, if the current trend amongst State governments to levy the entertainment tax on DTH catches on. The Uttar Pradesh Government recently levied an entertainment tax of 30 per cent on DTH services and set top boxes, forcing Dish TV to stop further sales in the State. The CEO and Managing Director of Tata Sky, Mr Vikram Kaushik, told Business Line that Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and others may soon follow suit. “If this happens, we will be left with no option but to pass on the additional burden to the consumer.” DTH operators are already taxed on the set-top boxes they provide and the services they provide by the Union Government. With State governments moving towards bringing DTH services and set top boxes under the entertainment tax net, operators are hard pressed to absorb the increasing tax burdens.

Mr Kaushik says, “The Government feels that the DTH industry has a lot of money and caters to the rich. However, this is not the case. DTH industry has been losing money and rural penetration is almost the same as that in urban areas.” According to industry analysts, the DTH industry has lost close to Rs 5,000 crore in 2008-09. Also half of Tata Sky’s volumes come from areas outside the 50 major cities. “With an average revenue per user of Rs 150 a month, the bulk of revenues goes into taxes,” says Mr Kaushik. Adding service tax, licence fee, excise duty, VAT and entertainment tax, the tax element per user for DTH companies goes up to almost 56 per cent. The entertainment tax itself varies from 15 per cent to 45 per cent across the country.

- Business Line

MPA: DTH sector set for scorching subscriber growth

The direct-to-home (DTH) sector is set for a scorching pace of growth in subscriber additions, on the back of aggressive growth strategies of new players such as Airtel digital TV, Reliance Big TV and the Videocon Group. Currently, the five private DTH operators - Dish TV, Tata Sky, Big TV, digital TV and Sun Direct - are expected to add over six million new subscribers by the end of December, to take the overall subscriber base to over 17 million, a 57 per cent growth over December 2008. Nearly half the additions will come from the two new players, who launched operations only a year earlier. The overall DTH subscriber base was under five million in December 2007, according to the projections made by Media Partners Asia (MPA), the international media research agency.

MPA says that almost a third of the new subscribers for DTH and digital cable in Asia will come from India by December this year. The projections are based on net subscriber additions between December 2008 and December 2009, the actual paying subscribers of DTH services as opposed to the gross subscriber numbers given by DTH operators. Investors in these companies will, however, remain concerned about the mounting economic challenges faced by the DTH industry. And, that the five service providers will still have only around 30 per cent market share by 2013, versus 70 per cent for the incumbent cable operators. Cable homes are currently expected to be around 90 million. According to the MPA report, Airtel digital TV is likely to add a net of 1.4 million new DTH subscribers till December 2009, the highest among the two new entrants, Big TV and digital TV.

Overall, Sun Direct will lead the pack, with expected net additions of 1.5 million new subscribers by end of 2009. The others are together expected to add at least a million net subscribers by the end of 2009. Dish TV, the country's largest and the oldest private DTH operator, is currently expected to hold the dominant position in the DTH market, with an overall base of 5.2 million net subscribers by December 2009. Recently, Tata Sky has achieved a milestone in reaching four million connections in under three years since launch. The latest one million subscribers were gained in just over seven months. Vikram Kaushik, managing director and chief executive officer, Tata Sky, says, "This milestone validates us as the preferred service provider in the rapidly growing Indian pay-TV market."


Kamal helpless to favour Vijay TV

Actor Kamal HaasanPopular television channel Vijay TV had earlier secured the broadcasting rights of the landmark event to be organized in Chennai on 30th August by Kamal Haasan's fans commemorating the actor's towering presence in Kollywood for the past fifty years. The agenda was drawn up elaborately by the channel's team and interviews and views were taken from those who have known Kamal as an actor as well as from his childhood. Even the sponsors of the event had been finalized. When the preparatory wok and other works were mid-way through, Vijay TV authorities were informed that 'Kalaignar TV' wanted to host the event. Kalaignar TV then spoke directly to Kamal and somehow 'coerced' him into accepting the change of host of the event.

Kamal didn't want to make Vijay TV officials feel bad, as he knew very well that they had done tremendous home-work and preparatory work for the event. At the same time, due to pressure from Kalaignar TV, he couldn't keep mum either. So, he put it across to Vijay TV mildly that 'some other channel' wanted to host the event and won the approval from Vijay TV.

Power has its charm, doesn't it?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Star has option to take majority in JV firm with DEN

Star Group has the option to take, from January 2010, majority control of the distribution company it set up with DEN Networks Ltd. If Star decides to exercise this option of acquiring an additional one per cent stake, DEN will then have the right to sell its entire stake in the joint venture company to Star. Currently, Star and DEN have equal stake in Star Den, the joint venture company set up in early 2008. Star will get to purchase at a 20 per cent discount to the fair market value of such interest. "Star also has the right to hike its 50 per cent stake in the joint venture by one per cent in case there is a default from us," a source in DEN says.

Star has the right to exercise its option to up the stake within a 30-day window once a year. "The joint venture agreement contains certain non-competition provisions. In addition, the agreement sets out certain funding and contractual obligations, including performance targets for Star DEN that we are required to meet," the source in DEN adds. Star DEN currently has the exclusive right to distribute 23 television channels, including the entire Star and Disney group of channels to providers of various television distribution platforms, such as cable TV, DTH and IPTV, in India, Bhutan and Nepal. It also distributes select Network18 channels, the Times Group channels and MGM. For the fiscal ended March 2009, DEN's consolidated revenue stood at Rs 7.19 billion and it incurred a net loss (after minority interest) of Rs. 151.13 million. Star DEN contributed 51.11 per cent of DEN's consolidated revenue for FY'09. The joint venture also helped DEN reduce its loss after tax by 11.86 per cent on a consolidated basis.

DTH operators may have to offer inter-operable boxes

Direct to Home (DTH) operators could be asked to provide inter-operable set-top boxes to their customers with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) seeing prima facie merit in a complaint filed by a consumer organisation that it is in violation of competition laws. The CCI is already one month into its investigation that began on the basis of information filed by Consumer Online Foundation that says DTH service providers are limiting competition among themselves by not providing consumers inter-operable set-top boxes that will allow them to switch operators without paying for a new box. There are over 15 million DTH subscribers currently among five private DTH operators — Dish TV, Tata Sky, Reliance Big TV, Sun Direct and Airtel Digital TV. Current DTH licensing norms only specify inter-operability between DTH operators offering services using MPEG-2 technology like Dish TV and Tata Sky (which are in compliance). However, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is yet to set out norms for MPEG-4 technology (used by Sun Direct, Big TV and Digital TV), so the boxes of Dish TV or Tata Sky are not portable with the services of the MPEG-4 DTH operators.

"I am in the process of preparing my report so I cannot discuss details of the case. I will be submitting it within next month or a month-and-half," said K K Sharma, advisor (law), CCI, and the investigating officer in the matter. CCI sources, however, said they found merit in the complaint that consumers should be able to have the choice to buy boxes separately from the DTH service and access any operator through it. Gautam Shahi, advocate with APJ-SLG Law Offices, who is handling the case for Consumer Online Foundation, said operator-set-top box link is a direct violation of licensing conditions. "There is a prima facie tie-in of DTH services with set-top boxes that violates Section 3 of the Competition Act, 2002," he said. Apart from directing DTH operators to make their boxes inter-operable, the CCI, under section 27 of Competition Act, 2002, may also penalise them 10 per cent of the revenues of the last three financial years.

Technical experts say DTH subscribers may be able to switch from their current service providers to new DTH players by installing an add-on device called a transcoder to their set-top boxes. The transcoder is expected to cost Rs 400 to Rs 600 at subsidised rates. According to sources, BIS has already made a technical report in the matter. DTH operators like Dish TV and Tata Sky have said that they are inter-operable in line with the DTH licensing norms. “We are in full compliance of the DTH licensing conditions as far as operability of MPEG 2 boxes go,” said Anshuman Sharma, chief legal and regulatory affairs officer, Tata Sky. Dish TV, the largest private DTH operator, said its boxes are technically and commercially inter-operable according to BIS specifications but not with Big TV, Sun Direct or Digital TV which use MPEG 4 boxes for which guidelines have not been set.

- Business Standard

Sunday, August 9, 2009

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