The big news of the year was the split between Star and NDTV. While
Murdoch wanted complete control, Prannoy Roy did not want to let
go of editorial independence. Star would take full control of Star
News from 31 March 2003 after the five-year exclusive supply contract
ended while NDTV announced it would launch two channels of its own
around the same time.
The government also set in motion a process whereby FDI in TV channels
operating in the news category was to be reviewed and likely to
be linked to the parameters prevailing in the print medium. In the
print arena (except trade publications), the government allows 26
per cent FDI investment.
Zee Telefilms was on an acquisition spree, buying stake into ETC
Networks and Padmalaya Telefilms. The size of the all-cash deal
for ETC Networks which owned ETC Punjabi and ETC Music was approximately
Rs 250 million (Rs 180 million for purchase of shares from promoters
and Rs 70 million for preferential allotment).
Zee's stake in Padmalaya Telefilms (a listed company) was through
an acquisition of a 64.3 per cent stake in the holding company,
Padmalaya Enterprises Pvt Ltd (PEPL). This gave Zee a 32.8 per cent
stake in Padmalaya Telefilms, a Hyderabad-based content company.
Zee was to pay Rs 590 million for the deal including an open offer
of 20 per cent as required by regulations.
The year also saw the exit of Zee Telefilms CEO Sandeep Goyal.
Chandra decided to run the company at the operational level as well
and brought back his brothers Jawahar Goel and Laxmi Goel to manage
Siticable and news businesses of Zee.
For the major players like Sun and ETV in the southern region,
it was a period of consolidation. Vijay TV led the move towards
pay in Tamil Nadu. Sun announced plans to take Telugu channel Gemini
Doordarshan's revenues were being taken away by the private satellite
players. During 1999-2000, DD's revenues stood at Rs 5,971.9 million
and AIR's at Rs 808.4 million. DD's earnings increased in 2000-2001
to Rs 6,375.1 million while AIR's dipped to Rs 739 million. For
2001-2002, DD earned Rs 6,152 million (indicating a dip in earnings),
while AIR's revenues increased to Rs 966.8 million. By the time
this financial year closes, Prasar Bharati expects that DD would
have mopped up about Rs 6,250 million, while AIR is expected to
do another Rs 1,000 million.