Sun Network will feed the movie hungry KTV

Southern regional language powerhouse Sun Network does not let the grass grow under its feet. Hardly had the dust settled on the relaunch of potential rival Vijay TV under the Star India banner, than it announced the high profile launch of its movie channel - Kondattam TV (KTV) - set for 22 October.

Indications are that the launch of the channel was advanced in response to the happenings on the Vijay front. Promoter Kalanidhi Maran is pulling out all the stops to ensure that Star is not allowed to gain a firm foothold in Tamil Nadu, it appears.

Kondattam, which means celebration, is targetted at the family. The focus is movies, movies and more movies. Three movies will be shown a day, one of which will be a major blockbuster. The new channel will take advantage of Sun Network's library of over 5000 movies. Because of this another network will find it difficult to enter the film market, says Santosh Nair, marketing head, New Age Entertainment, which is handling promotion and marketing of the channel.

Sun Network will hold a 100 per cent stake in KTV, which will be aired 24-Hours in Tamil. Sun has allocated a budget of Rs 70 million to promote KTV. Full page advertisements in major publications like Hindu and Dinathanthi have been appearing over the past fortnight in order to build excitement. Huge hoardings in Chennai have also been taken out.

Rajnikanth who is a God among movie goers in Tamil nadu, is one of the stars whose films will be shown on the new channel. In fact, when Sun TV had shown Baasha a while back, it got a TRP of 40 (market research agency AC Nielsen's TAM data). "If a film gets half that rating on KTV it will be enough for the channel to follow Sun in second position (Sun has an estimated 60 per cent market share among Tamil language channels). Other stars like Kamal Haasan, Sarat Kumar, Satyaraj, and Arvind Swamy will also be showcased," Nair says.

While New Age will handle marketing, Sun will use its cable arm Sumanagali Cable Vision to distribute KTV. Sumanagali has a vice-like grip on cable connectivity in the state's major cities - Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore and Trichy.

Nair says plans were afoot for a while to launch the channel. The channel will start as free to air and the possibility of it becoming pay appears to be remote at the moment.

Other content on KTV will include film-based music programs like countdowns. Plans are also on the anvil to have game shows on the channel, the license for which will be acquired from abroad. There will also be live events like concerts.

Nair is not worried about the possibility of Sun TV and KTV eating into each other's audience since the former's content is diversified, while the latter's content is film-based. He also foresees KTV breaking even sooner rather than later.

KTV Technical details:

Satellite: NSS-703 57° E

Polarisation: 3750 R

Freq: 3980 Mhz (Digital)

FEC: ? Symbol

Rate: 28,000

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