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KTV eats into parent Sun, leaves rivals untouched

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Sun ruled the galaxy of Tamil channels, with no rival able to hold a candle to it for nearly eight years. That was till Star, burning bright north of the Vindhyas, decided to extend its influence southwards with the relaunch of Vijay.

The revamped Vijay failed to create ripples. But KTV, which a defensive Sun launched in retaliation, has instead cannibalized into the parent channel, eating into nearly 10 per cent of the channel share in Tamil Nadu since its arrival. In an analysis of channel shares in the last quarter of 2001, OMS, the media division of Mudra Communications, has pointed out that KTV has emerged a clear number two in a state which did not have a strong contender for the position in a long time.

For over five years, Sun shone while others like Raj, Jaya and DD 5 cowered in its shadow. Post the KTV launch however, Sun seems to have lost a bit of its steam. And the reason seems to be two-fold. The launch of KTV obviously had an impact in that it ate into Sun?s viewership. There was another reason. The culmination of Chitti, Sun?s super hit soap with film star Radhika in the title role. Viewers seem to have taken a breather from TV altogether after a year of following the swinging fortunes of Chitti every evening between 9:30 pm and 10 pm, as no other channel gained from a drop in Sun?s share. Jaya TV was the only one that recorded some growth, possibly due to the launch of a KBC clone, Koteeswari, hosted by popular actor Khushboo, according to OMS.

While the launch of Vijay did bring down Sun?s domination in the south, it was Kondattam TV that grabbed eyeballs in the last quarter of 2001. The third relaunch in its history, Vijay had new packaging, new logo, new programmes and used print, outdoor and radio for its promotions. The relaunch on 1 October resulted in marginal growth for the channel, most of it due to Marumagal, a daily soap loosely based on Kyunkii Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, again with Khushboo in the lead, the report notes.

The Kalanithi Maran promoted Sun Network was ready with its response within three weeks. Kondattam - enjoyment was the keyword that launched KTV on 22 October, and cinema was the staple diet that it offered viewers, with Tamil film stars coming on board to promote the channel. The advertising burst was huge, with the network spending massive amounts on hoardings, posters and print campaigns even in the interiors of the state.

According to the analysis of channel shares post Vijay relaunch and post KTV launch in the prime time of 7 - 11 pm in Chennai, the reigning Sun TV took a beating from 54 to 47 per cent after Vijay was relaunched. The channel slid a further nine per cent after sibling KTV came along. Raj TV and Sun News took a slight beating in the clash of the titans, while Jaya inched up a bit and DD 5 which saw viewers moving away after Vijay?s relaunch, remained at the same position after KTV?s launch.

The rest of Tamil Nadu responded only slightly differently. Sun?s losses were lower, notes the report, sliding from a channel share of 48 per cent to 44 after Vijay?s launch and then further to 36 per cent after KTV arrived. According to OMS, this reflects on viewers? loyalty to the time band even after Chitti had been seen to its end. Vijay?s slight improvement after its relaunch was tempered again after KTV hit the screens. The scenario post KTV has been the same as in Chennai, the report observes.

Tables

Chennai

Channel
Channel Share (%)
  Pre Vijay/KTV Post Vijay Post KTV
Sun TV 54 47 38
KTV 0 0 7
Raj TV 6 5 4
Vijay TV 3 3 4
Jaya TV 3 4 5
Sun News 2 1 1
DD5 (Tamil) 6 4 6

Rest of TN

Channel
Channel Share (%)
  Pre Vijay/KTV Post Vijay Post KTV
Sun TV 48 44 36
KTV 0 0 10
Raj TV 5 4 4
Vijay TV 3 5 4
Jaya TV 3 4 4
Sun News 2 1 1

All said, Vijay TV looks like having shaken Sun TV into launching KTV but it has only resulted in the creation of a clear No. 2 channel in Tamil Nadu. This did not exist till now what with the rival channels jockeying amongst themselves with about the same percentage share of the channel pie give or take a percentage point.

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