South Indian music channel Southern Spice launched in Mumbai

Southern Spice is headquartered in Chennai and beams a mix of Tamil (40 per cent), Telugu (30 per cent), Kannada (10 per cent), Malayalam (10 per cent) and English (10 per cent) - in a random mix. Anil Shetty of ARMD Media (the firm managing all aspects of the channel - including programming and promotion) explains the reasoning thus: "Music channels are not about about appointment television. It's all about frequency of viewing."

'As to why the channel is packaged in English, Shetty says that is the only way to bridge all four languages.

On the programming front there are nine daily shows currently running ans two weeklies. This number will eventually go up to seven, according to Shetty.

Among the shows on air are Phone-Tastic, Say To Play, Reach Out (all three interactive), FIR, I-Me-Myself, Time-Out, Hot Hotter Hottest, South Full, Reach Out, Loaded and Fast Forward.

Southern Spice is promoted by Fortune Media Private Limited, a company floated by the Martin Lottery Agencies Ltd, one of the largest bulk distributors of lotteries in the country. Santiago Martin is chairman and managing director of the company. Martin Lottery is associated with the state lotteries of Bhutan, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.

The lottery link is very evident in the channel's decision to to have a daily live relay of the Bhutan lottery from 3 - 4 pm.

With an initial capital expenditure of Rs 50 million, and running costs of just under Rs 10 million a month, the money sunk into the project so far is roughly Rs 90 million.

When queried as to when they expected to break even, Shetty says the channel is looking at a 30-month gestation period.

On the distribution front, Shetty says 95 per cent of the cable & satellite universe in the southern states have been covered, 80 per cent of Mumbai, 75 per cent of Delhi and 100 per cent of Calcutta. So far 3,000 set top boxes have been distributed across the country, he adds.

Simply Spice is beaming off NSS -703 as a free-to-air service. The channel is being uplinked from Singapore.

Technical Specifications:

Satellite : NSS - 703 57? E

Downlink Frequency : 3888 MHz

FEC : 3/4

Downlink Polarisation : Horizontal

Symbol rate : 09766 Kg Symbol/sec


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