Television

Zee TV rescues millennium celebration broadcasts

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Zee Telefilms will be continuing with its millennium broadcast on 31 December. This is despite the collapse of the Los Angeles-based Millenium TV Network (MTN) in the US. Australian media magnate Kerry Packer had announced that the network had failed to raise funds for getting the 24 hour millenium TV show going. The show would showcase programming from 40-50 television networks worldwide for an audience in 130 countries. Zee TV sources say that once they got to know that MTN was going down under, the broadcasters spoke to each other and agreed to exchange programming with each other. "The spirit was bringing the world together and we decided to stick on with the concept." Zee TV will now be using its Hong Kong uplinking site in Clearwater Bay as a hot switching base for turning on and off programming from the Eastern hemisphere. Laxmi Venkat, the main executive behind the millenium show has dashed to Hong Kong to ensure things run smoothly. The programming from networks in the western hemisphere will be orchestrated from London by Zee TV's UK operations. Meanwhile, the show in Mumbai that Zee will be telecasting to the world as part of the millennium telecast has been expanded to seven hours and will have Bollywood personalities like Shahrukh Khan, Amir Khan and Mahima Chaudhary, apart from a host of other stars. They will be showcasing the best of Bollywood to the rest of the world. The Zee TV Millennium programming event begins on the network at 3:15 pm on 31 December. 

Sahara TV relaunch; 6 new channels planned

Despite rumours to the contrary, the Sahara Group has once again announced that it is relaunching its free-to-air entertainment television channel by the end of February 2000. The Subroto Roy promoted group will also launch another five digital channels out of which two are to be based on news & current affairs and movies. The launch date for these: April 2000. The other three would specifically target the Indian audience and would be launched by next year end. Transponder space has been booked on Asiasat 3S and Panamsat 4. For the first year of operations, the company is investing Rs 3000 million. The Sahara group is setting up its own foreign subsidary and is investing upto US $15 million in it. The subsidary will be used for uplinking purposes, software syndication, marketing of airtime and investing in other countries. A seperate company will be formed to manage the distribution and support services for the channels and set up 110 distribution centres all over India, 60% out of which would be in North India. 3000 decoders will be distributed in the next year. Sahara is also planning to enter the Infotech arena by focussing on the content business.

MSO to revamp cable channel

The Rajan Raheja owned Hathway cable and Datacom Pvt Ltd is repositioning its movie channel CineCable Channel (CCC). For starters it is being renamed as CineCable. The Channel ID is being changed and so is its byline. The new would be three Cs in gold and the new byline would be "Home is where the Theatre is". The channel has spent more than Rs 150 million for acquiring better movies for a longer period. The channel is also going to focus more on film based programmes. The reach of the channel has risen by 60% to over 2.2 million homes. The company claims its has little competition in most cities where it operates. Its biggest competitor in Mumbai is the Hinduja-run CVO. 

Production House wants IPO

The television production, media marketing and event marketing company, Nimbus Communications has announced that it will go public in the first quarter of 2000. It hopes to raise Rs 1920 million is through the public issue. The money would be utilised for expansion activities such as television content business, media marketing business, export of television software. New businesses like FM radio channels as well as a television channel will be funded through the IPO. The issue which has the State Bank of India (SBI) as the lead manager will have a book building between Rs 300-400. 25 per cent of the total equity will be help by institutions as well as the public whereas the remaining 75 per cent will be distributed between the promoters and the employees. The company has applied for licenses for its FM channels in Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune. The television channel would focus on news and features from the entertainment and the glamour industry. The company is already executing the Rs 25 million order bagged earlier under which it is shipping more than 300 hours of Malyalam programming to Orion Entertainment Ltd. Nimbus is hoping its sales turnover to touch Rs 1300 million for the year ending 31 March, 2000. It is also hoping that figure to reach Rs 4500 million in the next three years once the expansion plans and the new businesses are implemented. 

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