Maa TV to invest Rs 80 million on serials

MUMBAI: In a significant strategy shift, Telugu channel Maa TV will incorporate soaps in its programming line up. Starting December 2005, the channel will begin with about eight soaps on an initial investment of Rs 80 million.

"To start with, we are launching eight soaps in the primetime band. We will be investing Rs 80 million in the project for the four-month period of December 2005 to March 2006," says Maa TV executive director Rajendra Prasad.

Till now, the entertainment channel from Maa TV Network Ltd has been banking on movies, events and interactive mobile-based shows to drive in numbers. Prasad said, the programmes which occupy the primetime band would be shifted to other "convenient" slots.

Maa TV has also been focusing its attention on the movie acquisition front. In the last eight months, the channel has spent about Rs 250 million to acquire 200 new Telugu movies. This lot includes many dubbed versions of Tamil blockbusters as well. Some of the latest flicks Maa TV has acquired include the Tamil version of this year's super hit movie Chandramukhi, Jai Chiranjeeva, Arjun and Chathrapati, apart from the complete Rama Naidu library.

The company had initiated talks with a group of investors to raise Rs 300 million through preferential allotment of shares. However, sources reveal that no agreement could be reached following which founder-promoter Murali Krishna Raju himself has now invested about Rs 400 million in the project.

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