Raj TV plans cable network to take on Sun
MUMBAI: Raj TV, basking under the new-found patronage extended by Tamil Nadu’s ruling DMK party, is in talks with leading cable operators including Hathway to launch a state-wide cable network to take on Sun TV.
Raj’s move comes amidst chief minister Karunanidhi’s high-profile feud with the Maran family led by grand nephew Dayanidhi Maran and just days after it announced plans to launch a Tamil language channel with the DMK’s blessings.
“It is true that we are looking at getting into the distribution business in Tamil Nadu and are in talks with a few MSOs. Nothing has been finalised as yet,” Raj TV CEO M Rajendran told ET from Chennai. Sources said Chennai-based PVK group is also holding similar talks with Raj TV.
Sun TV’s bouquet of channels reign supreme in the state, while cable arm Sumangali is a virtual monopoly. Raj’s entry into distribution and the expansion of its network is bound to put Sun on the backfoot. “Yes, we are aware of Raj TV talking to the current fringe operating MSOs, as well as cable operators who they are trying to woo to get on to their side. We are internally strategising how we can combat this move,” a Sun TV official, on condition of anonymity said.
Sun TV’s Sumangali Cable Vision (SCV), the multi-system operator (MSO), has a market share of over 80% of the cable operators throughout Tamil Nadu. Moreover, distribution has been the key factor for the Sun TV group’s success. Through SCV, Sun managed to rule the television roost, keeping a tight hold on competition and keeping them at bay.
Raj TV is banking on the fact that the last-mile cable operators are largely controlled by the DMK, and are staunch supporters of Karunanidhi. With the ruling DMK no more backing Sun TV, a lot of cable operators are now weighing their options to see which side is more beneficial to swing to.
Apart from foraying into distribution, Raj TV is also planning to launch direct-to-home services. Media planners have already begun voicing their concerns. Says a media buyer on condition of anonymity, “Raj TV is suddenly buoyant, with investment behind pumped into the channel. Moreover, the distribution arena is also unclear as of now. So, these are definitely challenging times for Sun TV. Also, the past weeks have seen Raj TV shares going up, and if the distribution obstacle is removed, there will definitely be a change of dynamics in the Tamil TV world.”
Meanwhile, the ongoing media war in Tamil Nadu between Marans and Karunanidhis has moved from television channels to movie rights. Television rights of the most expensive Tamil film ever made - Rajnikant starrer Sivaji - have been sold to the soon to be launched DMK-run Kalaignar TV.
Sun TV had till date acquired virtually all major movies so far, and the acquisition of the Rs 50 crore Sivaji is being seen as another example of the widening rift between the Karunanidhis and the Marans.
You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself.
Good times for Raj tv. Atleast now can we expect Sun DTH?
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