Jaya TV, KP Sunil is preparing for a bigger role.
As head of news, he is eagerly waiting for the news
and current affairs channel to launch in a market
that is occupied only by Sun News.
question is: When? Run by close associates of Tamil
Nadu chief minister Jayalalitha, insiders say it is
bound to happen before the state elections that are
due in May 2006. But Jaya TV had hatched plans for
the last few years of floating such a channel. So
will it take birth this time?
are moving. Permission has been obtained to run a
teleport and a second channel. "We are only awaiting
approval from Wireless Protocol Clearance for the
channel. The teleport should be operational within
six months," says Jaya TV vice president of administration
and legal S Ranganathan.
bouquet of channels is what Jaya needs if it has to
do serious combat against Sun Network which has a
fleet of four strong Tamil language channels - Sun
TV, Sun News, movie channel KTV and Sun Music. Even
Raj Television Network has two channels - Raj TV and
Raj Digital Plus.
Plus will primarily be a news and current affairs
channel but have small doses of talk shows and quiz
programmes. And it will be politically aligned towards
Jayalalitha. Admits Sunil, who will head the news
channel: "No channel including CNN is neutral.
The channel will be as politically neutral as Sun
News or Doordarshan is."
believes the channel can have a different positioning
and still gather in audiences. "We will have
7-8 fresh news bulletins. Unlike the other news channels,
we will have no repeat telecast of the same news.
In between, we will have district level news,"
How big will the team be? "We are already 150
people. We will add another 20 per cent staff,"
bouquet will not end there. Plans are on to apply
uplinking permission for a third channel. "Once
we have our teleport, it will be viable to have more
channels in the bouquet," says Ranganathan.
company is also pushing for growth in overseas markets.
Recently, a deal was signed with Malaysia's Astro
All Asia Network to provide programmes. ATN channel
in Canada is also carrying Jaya TV's programmes. Besides,
the channel is available on Pehla direct-to-home (DTH)
platform since late last year. "We are likely
to have more subscription revenues from overseas markets
in future," says Ranganathan.
company's earnings from advertising have grown by
Rs 100 million last fiscal. Says Jaya TV vice president
marketing K Balaswaminathan, "We touched Rs 600
million in the last financial year." But this
is far below what Sun earns.
challenge for flagship general entertainment channel
Jaya TV is to grow the audience share. The channel
is banking on a new SMS-based live interactive game
show, which is likely to be launched in the prime
time as a weekly in August.
in fact, have been Jaya's trumpcard. Jackpot,
anchored by popular actress Khushbu, is the most successful
show and has been running for the last three years.
"Though the original Zee TV show Family Fortunes
ran only for one year, we have the Tamil version delivering
for us," says Balaswaminathan.
production cost of Jackpot is in the range of Rs 80,000
to Rs 1,00,000, according to a source. The new gameshow
will cost around that range, he adds.
is another area where Jaya TV is planning to be aggressive.
The company has acquired rights to two blockbuster
movies released this year, Mumbai Xpress and
Sachien. "The cost of movies has gone
up while there is a limit on the revenue realisation.
But we have got to run the race. Movies can be seen
as investments," says Jaya TV vice president
programmes and operations Murali Raman.
Balaswaminathan: "We have a variety of programming.
We have talk shows and game shows. We do not rely
only on daily soaps." No wonder while Sun has
13 soaps daily, Jaya TV telecasts only six.
is forced in a way, as Sun has a strong line-up of
soaps. Jaya's strategy is to tap the viewer segment
which is more bent on non-soap programmes like game
shows and comedies. Last year, the channel launched
a talk show Achamillai Achamillai with popular
actress Lakshmi as anchor.
major property added to the programming line up as
part of Jaya TV's makeover last year was dubbed Hollywood
movies. Jaya TV telecasts Hollywood blockbusters on
Saturdays at 9:30 pm. For a 90-minute movie, Jaya
TV's ad inventory could be approximately 1200 seconds.
The channel charges Rs 4000 for a 10-second slot,
is something Jaya TV is planning to return to. Last
year, the channel had no event-based programming line
For over five years, Jaya TV may have found the going
tough as a lone channel. But will the task get easier
even after forming a bouquet to take on Sun Network?
A senior executive in the company sums it up the best
way: "We will have to take a long and bumpy ride
before we can even know the answer."
Special Focus - I: Raj
TV: Fighting odds
with Sun Network CMD Kalanithi Maran