Mumbai production houses look to cash in on South programming churn

The Southern television space, which is second only to the Hindi space in viewership and ad spend, has been a key market for the country‘s prominent production houses including UTV, Creative Eye and Balaji Telefilms. Now these producers are getting more aggressive in this region as the leading Southern networks have intensified their activities in terms of channel launches and programming innovations.

Speaking about the kind of churn happening in the South, this year, the region has already witnessed the launch of four channels: entertainment and music channel Tamil Thirai, Sun Network‘s movies and music channels Aditya in Telugu and Kiran in Malayalam and Amrita TV, a general entertainment channel again in Malayalam.

And we have more channels in the pipeline. As reported by, Sun will be launching four Telugu channels this year, including the satellite version of its cable channel Gemini Cable Vision. Malayalam channel Asianet is ready with its movies and lifestyle channel Asianet.

DTH is also an area where production houses look to cash in.

"Regional language programming will continue to play a significant role in television content scenario for us. The arrival of DTH platforms will also spruce up the demand for quality content in Hindi as well as regional language segments," points out UTV director operations & finance Ronald D‘Mello.

For the uninitiated, UTV has just started producing shows for the Sun Network. The first show, a daily titled Gee Boomba is for the network‘s Telugu channel Gemini. Apart from this, the company has also acquired rights to market a Tamil sitcom Ali Rajyam airing on Sun TV. UTV has already been selling airtime for Sun and its producers in the South. On Sun, It also sells exclusive airtime on Kolangal and Nijam.

D‘Mello says, all put together - including production and airtime sales - UTV contributes four to five hours per week for Southern television.

"We have various projects in discussion stage with Sun TV Group for their Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam channels. We may do a show for the soon-to-be launched satellite cable channel GCV also. Speaking about airtime sales, more such opportunities are being discussed with various South based producers," he offers on the future plans.

While UTV and Balaji have an exclusive deal with Sun Network, Creative Eye is associated with Vijay TV. Creative Eye is currently producing a Monday - Thursday show Kanmani on the channel. The production house says its forte - mythology - is also in good demand among regional channels.

"Our Mythological serials like Om Namah Shivay and Shree Ganesh dubbed in regional languages are in demand for a re-run by the channels. Till recently Om namah Shivay was being telecast over Asianet in Malayalam," says Creative Eye director Devendra Dass.

Early this year, Creative Eye had signed a deal with ETV to telecast Om Namah Shivay five days a week (Monday - Friday) at 6:30 pm on ETV‘s four Hindi channels ETV-MP, ETV-UP, ETV-Bihar and ETV-Rajasthan.

Speaking on the future projects, Dass says the company is currently negotiating with various networks in the South.

"Our proposals are in pipeline with various players in the South including Sun Network, Vijay TV and Raj TV."

A source close to Creative Eye adds that if the production house lands a deal with Sun, it would kick off its airtime marketing activities also in the South.

The basic strategy being followed by these production houses to make inroads in the Southern market is by having a strong local presence. This is in addition to taking care to maintain that local flavour in their regional programmes. Apart from having their offices down South, the production houses rope in local people to also to handle key marketing responsibilities.

Creative Eye‘s Dass feels that, irrespective of all these, Southern channels are still partial to local producers. "There is a bias towards locally available talents which have proven track records," he says. To counter this, the best strategy, as per Dass, is to have a tie-up with big producers there.

"You should get into tie-ups with bigwigs, who have a clout in the leading channels. Most of them wouldn‘t be having a strong financial back up. This is where we can score. So, these producers will naturally look for someone who is strong in finance as well as content. This is a new idea we are exploring currently and we have already started pitching," explains Dass.

According to D‘Mello, production houses including Radaan and Vikatan offer tough competition down South. But, since UTV is in exclusive contract with Sun, it is not facing any pricing war or undercutting. "There is competition, but content is the king. Sun focuses on quality and we are happy with our present system," he says.


The South television space follows two business models:

1) The commissioned programming model wherein the producer produces for a channel with pre-fixed price and

2) Slot sale model (followed by DD and Sun Network) where the producer buys the slot from the channel and produces for that slot. In the former case copyright passes on to the channel and in the latter, copyright remains with the producer.

Dass says Creative Eye has been generating about 15 per cent of its total revenue from the south while D‘Mello claims that its returns from the region has been steadily growing. According to Dass, there are advantages as well as disadvantages when it comes doing production for Southern channels.

The advantages he lists out are: a) Retention of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) with producers permitted by certain channels (including Sun) in south, (b) comparatively higher profit margins because of low production cost and (c) adds considerably to company revenues.

"On the other hand, the content has almost nil repeat value. The overseas demand is very limited. Also, the production house doesn‘t get noticed in a pan-Indian scenario," says Dass of the downside.

Latest Reads
Zee Telugu Announces World Television Premiere of Sai Pallavi and Naga Shaurya Starrer Kanam

Weekend plans just got better with Zee Telugu’s horror World Television Premiere, Kanam, to your home screens on Sunday

Television TV Channels Regional
Republic TV complains to TRAI, BARC on Times Now’s genre slotting

The ever-competitive business of TV news is set to witness another round of slugfest. Republic TV has complained to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) and Broadcast Audience Research Council of India about English news channel Times Now getting the channel re-slotted under Hindi news...

Television TV Channels Viewership
Zeel reports higher numbers on improved ad, subs revenues

The Subhash Chandra-led Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (Zeel) reported a 15 per cent year on year (y-o-y) growth in total revenue for the quarter ended 30 June 2018 (Q1 2019, period, or quarter under review) as compared to the corresponding year ago quarter (Q1 2018).

Television TV Channels GECs
Dsport to broadcast 'British Open' live for viewers in India

Dsport will broadcast the 147th edition of the much awaited ‘British Open’ live in India. The tournament will commence from 19 July 2018 at the Carnoustie Golf Course, Scotland.

Television TV Channels Sports
Zee Telugu to enhance family ideals with Ninne Pelladatha, brand-new fiction show

Providing the audiences with yet another entertaining and relatable fiction show, Zee Telugu launches Ninne Pelladatha, a show that highlights the bond humans share, regardless of being blood-related.

Television TV Channels Regional
Religious most benefitted genre in Chrome DM week 28

With a growth of 2.05 per cent as compared to last week (27), the religious genre marked the highest opportunity to see (OTS) among all categories in week 28 of Chrome Data Analytics & Media.

Television TV Channels Viewership
BARC India plans expansion of metre homes to 44,000 by this FY

Rural India is getting in the limelight. TV ratings body BroadcastAuidence Research Council (BARC) is expanding metre homes to 44,000 by this financial year.

Television TV Channels Viewership
Ranjana Mangla appointed national revenue head of India Today TV

Ranjana Mangla has been appointed the national revenue head of India Today TV. She will report to the chief revenue officer Rahul Kumar Shaw and will be based out of the ITG Mediaplex, Noida.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Discovery chronicles the harrowing story and extraordinary rescue of the thai soccer team that is captivating the world in Operation thai cave rescue

From the moment the heartbreaking news broke that 12 young Thai soccer players and their 25-year-old coach were stuck in a cave complex near the Myanmar border

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories