Television

Radaan goes national as IPO issue opens 5 Feb

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CHENNAI: Radaan Mediaworks, the Rs 210 million television content provider promoted by popular southside actress R Radikaa Sarathkumar, has lined up some mega plans to make its presence felt on the national scene.



The production house has plans to create and customise animation and cartoon content to South Indian audiences; aggressively export the existing content library to European and ASEAN countries; and expand its workforce.



The core management team of Radaan comprising of chairperson R Radikaa, MD MR Mohan Ratha, directors BS Radhakrishnan and D Ravi Chander Babu spoke to indiantelevision.com on the eve of their initial public offering (IPO) slated for 5 February 2003.



Radaan to create and customize existing content for kids' channels:

On the drawing board are plans to to customise existing cartoon and animation programming to South Indian audiences. Radaan is working on plans to leverage its technology strategic business division (graphic and multimedia capabilities) which has the requisite in-house expertise.

    

Radaan chairperson R Radikaa who is the driving force behind Radaan's very raison d'etre and the sole propellant of the creative task force.



"We explored several options for catering to the kids genre but they were not economically feasible and didn't guarantee satisfactory returns in terms of marketing. We are also looking at other options such as dubbing existing content into South Indian languages," says Radaan Mediaworks chairperson R Radikaa, who is the driving force behind Radaan's raison d'etre and the sole propellant of the creative task force.



Radaan launching IPO:



Radaan Mediaworks made a huge impact on Tamil viewers through its record shattering daily mega-soap Chithi,, which initially aired on Sun TV and had a two-year, 488-episode run at the top of the charts. The series is currently being re-run on Sun's sister channel KTV. Radaan is entering the capital market to raise about Rs 108.5 million through an IPO by offering 2.712 million fresh equity shares to investors.



Radaan is offering its Rs 10 equity share at a premium of Rs 30 to the public through the IPO, which opens on 5 February 2003 and closes on the 8 February. The shares will be listed in NSE and Madras Stock Exchange. Post - IPO, the promoters and professional directors' stake in the company will come down to 75 per cent from the present 100 per cent and it's equity base will increase to Rs 111.5 million from the present Rs 81.3 million.



A major part of the funds, about 80 per cent, raised from this public issue will be used for the long-term working capital needs of the company and also to reduce the high cost borrowings of the company. The balance will be used to prepare to go on the national network and also for upgrading its studio facilities in Chennai. In addition, the Company will shortly be venturing into feature films and also hybrid tele-films.



This is in sync with the company's objective to become India's premier provider of holistic solutions in the entertainment media. Currently, around 80 per cent of the content is made for Tamil and Telegu channels and there are plans to increase the share of other languages.



Radikaa says: "The company is now in the process of consolidating their operations in the South and as a logical step is going on the national network. Public broadcaster (Doordarshan) as well as several private broadcasters have approached us for proposals. Our successful foray into Hindi soaps, a joint exercise with UTV on Zee TV, has also given us the confidence to explore the immense possibilities." The Hindi version of Chithi launched on Zee as Chotti Maa, Ek Anokha Bandhan but failed to recreate the magic of the southern original on the TRP charts.

    

"We have the requisite capabilities and expertise to make our presence felt on the national level"



Radaan MD 

MR Mohan Ratha



Queried about the company's stated plans to make its presence felt on the national level Mohan Ratha says: "Why not? We have the requisite capabilities and expertise. We produce 13-1/2 hours of 'fresh content' every week. These are aired on all the four South Indian channels. We have an existing library currently valued at Rs 240 million. Several broadcasters are approaching us for re-runs of our earlier popular programmes."



To meet burgeoning customer demands, Radaan Mediaworks, which started off as Radaan TV - a business initiative in the television software production segment - has today placed itself as a veritable cruise-in-cruise-out solution storehouse for all TV software, digital graphics, imaging & special effects and event management needs for a host of channel majors and sundry industry clients.



Radaan's export plans:



In addition to this the company also has been successful in marketing its software library in the international markets like Malaysia, Sri Lanka, the UK and the US. In fact, currently more than 5 per cent of the total revenues come from exports. 

    

"We are aggressively pursuing opportunities in the ASEAN countries and other markets."



Radaan director

BS Radhakrishnan



Radhakrishnan elaborates: "We are aggressively pursuing opportunities in the ASEAN countries and other markets. More importantly, we are examining the various mechanisms for exports - for instance we shall take the DVD route in the US and the C&S (cable and satellite) rights route in the Asian countries and the UK. "



Radaan's offerings and content:



Radaan has two Tamil daily soaps Annaamalai and Udhayam on Sun TV in addition to two weeklies Rudhra Veena and Chinna Pappa Periya Pappa. On Gemini it has two daily soaps Ninney Pelladutha (number one soap on the channel) and 'Gaayathri' (the number two spot) during prime time and also a dubbed daily Shiviah at noon. It also has Rudhra Veena, a dubbed weekly on Gemini. On Udhaya, Radaan has a daily soap Uuyyale. Also



When queried about the viewership trends in South India, Radikaa states: "A closer look at our output proves that our creative teams have been consistently excelling in providing unique television software formulae. In an era which is earmarked by the variety syndrome, Radaan has done good in presenting a mosaic of television genres - soap operas, suspense thrillers, comedy shows to game shows and telefilms."



Radaan was formed in 1994 and did its first serial for JJ TV which morphed later into today's Jaya TV.



"We have been sourcing the content from Indian literature and mythologies. We also believe in our instinct and intuition. Personally my 25-year stint in entertainment and 300 plus films have given me tremendous insights into the psyche of discerning and mass audiences. We also imbibe from our team's vast experience and improvise on the same. The weekly viewership ratings and audience feedback tell us whether we are on the right track or not," Radikaa says. 



Currently, Radaan employs a workforce of around 330 people which will be augmented post the equity offering. 

    

"More people will be added to the team We are looking at Hindi script writers too."



Radaan director 

D Ravichander Babu



"More people will be added to the team and we are looking at Hindi script writers too. In terms of designed-to-morph creative inputs, near-real time maneuvering of TV serials to keep in step with the average renegade viewer or in the realm of people management, Radaan's crew toils 24 x 7 to deliver the seamless customer experience. 

We strongly believe in the dictum team works. A belief born out of the realisation that companies succeed only when people do," adds Chander Babu.



Radaan seems to be making the right moves in order to attain its mission of being "second to none".

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