three months after joining TV18 Group, Gandhi has plotted
a free existence for IndiaCast. Sun Group will no longer
distribute the TV18 channels in the southern states of Andhra
Pradesh, Karnata and Kerala. It will still have Tamil Nadu,
the regional broadcaster's home turf.
have got three more markets while Sun will continue to distribute
our channels in Tamil Nadu. We also have the ETV channels
to distribute in India and overseas barring ETV Telugu (GEC)
and ETV2 (Telugu news channel) that they own. We will continue
to distribute the Sun group and Disney channels in the Hindi
speaking markets," says IndiaCast Group CEO Gandhi.
subscription revenues from the southern markets is dismally
low, accounting for around 12 per cent of its total pay
revenues. The other big broadcasters manage to mop up 20-25
per cent of their total pay revenues from the southern region.
are expecting to get an upside in subscription revenues
from the south. We have not fully tapped the market there,"
did IndiaCast decide to leave the distribution of the TV18
channels to Sun Group in Tamil Nadu when it had lost its
cable TV dominance in the state after the Jayalalithaa government
decided to float Arasu Cable?
still feel that Sun is a very powerful network in Tamil
Nadu. We also wanted to continue having amicable relationship
with Sun," says Gandhi.
possible reason of doing away with Sun distributing the
TV18 channels in Andhra Pradeh, Karnataka and Kerala could
be that ETV, now under ownership of TV18 (100% in ETVs
news channels and 50 per cent in GECs), competes with Sun
in the southern markets. In Tamil Nadu, where Sun will distribute
the TV18 channels, ETV doesnt have a presence.
Tamil Nadu, where Sun will distribute the TV18 channels,
ETV doesnt have a presence.
logic doesnt hold because in Andhra Pradesh, where
ETV is distributing the two Telugu channels that it controls
(TV18 has 24.5% in ETV Telugu and ETV2), we are distributing
our channels," avers Gandhi.
also gets in bargain the Disney channels through Sun as
the global media conglomerate has a distribution arrangement
with the Kalanithi Maran company.
new structure will, however, not add any competitive advantage.
"In the south, they do not have an English movie channel.
They also do not have strong English general entertainment
channels. And under the new power equations, with Arasu
becoming a powerful cable TV network, it is actually a disadvantage
to go with Sun for distribution in Tamil Nadu," says
the head of a distribution company.
will distribute 26 channels, including entertainment, kids,
news, infotainment, music and regional languages, across
cable, DTH, IPTV, Headend-In-The-Sky (HITS), and MMDS (Multichannel
Multipoint Distribution Service). The leading channels in
the bouquet are Colors, CNBC TV18, CNN IBN, IBN7, MTV and
Nick. The company will also distribute the Disney and Sun
channels in the Hindi speaking markets.
will, however, have to compete in a strong neighbourhood.
Media Pro Enterprise India, the equal JV between Zee Turner
and Star Den, has a much wider and powerful bouquet with
68 channels. TheOneAlliance has 22 channels to distribute,
lower than IndiaCast, but in its bouquet it has sports channels.
have strengthened our position. We have added ETV which
has a string of popular regional-language channels,"
is given a broader shape with content asset monetisation
across geographies, platforms and mediums falling under
its umbrella. The other channel distribution companies do
not have such a wide canvass and content syndication falls
outside their functional zones.
company is structured in such a way that it takes into account
the fact that technologies are merging. The lines are blurring
and if you are doing an OTT (over-the-top) deal, the content
is visible across the world. So you need to look at it wholistically,"
syndication is still a low business. Zeel earned Rs 1.32
billion in FY'12 through other sales and services (syndication
sales, playout & transmission services and facility
usage income) while Colors ended up with Rs 300 million,
says a source.
will have sufficient room for growth. "We see scope
in upping revenues from all the lines: online, digitisation
and existing businesses. There will be growth from DTH and
analogue cable as well. We will launch more channels in
overseas markets. We also expect strong growth from future
businesses like content syndication," says Gandhi.
Bahl, the time to marshall his resources to push for high
subscription revenue growth has arrived. It has been a bumpy
ride since he signed a contract with TheOneAlliance to distribute
his highly popular entertainment channel, Colors. The deal
for Colors and the other Viacom18 channels was for Rs 3
billion minimum guarantee (MG) over a three-year period
effective 1 April 2009. Souring relations, he formed a strategic
alliance with the Sun Group in 2010 but growth was far from
satisfactory. Now he hopes to see the next leg of growth
under a company that is structured to make the leap.