Archive for May, 2006

STAR News may roll out Marathi channel by early 2007

May 31, 2006

MUMBAI: After the success of its first regional initiative, STAR Ananda, Media Content and Communications Services (MCCS) is now eyeing the Marathi market.

As per sources within the company, the Marathi news channel should be launched early next year. As per its plans, STAR News is currently in the process of setting up a high technology backed studio in Noida, a Delhi suburb, by October 2006. From then, the current studio in Mumbai will be used for the Marathi channel. The new studio in Noida is believed to be far superior in terms of infrastructure and technology.

The group also plans to foray into the English news genre, but, as the sources say, the plans for the English channel are currently on hold and its main priority is to launch the Marathi channel first.

The group is probably waiting for the English news market to stabilise. This market has recently seen the entry of two new players, CNN IBN and Times Now.

When Uday Shankar, CEO, STAR News, was contacted by agencyfaqs!, he did not deny the facts, but he stated that it was too premature to talk about it at least till the date of the launch of the new channels was decided upon internally.

In addition, STAR News is regularly increasing both its editorial and ad sales teams in smaller towns and cities of significance. Sources say that these teams will be critical for the regional channels that the group plans to launch in the near future.

Source: agencyfaqs

Advertisements

Government mulls USO Fund for Prasar Bharati

May 31, 2006

NEW DELHI: Private broadcasters and big MSOs in the country might soon be called to lend a helping hand in the financial restructuring of pubcaster Prasar Bharati.

According to one of the options relating to funding of Prasar Bharati, suggested by a government panel, a corpus can be created from contributions from the broadcast and cable industry on the lines of the universal service obligation (USO) fund in the telecom sector.

Five per cent of a private telecom operator's annual revenues go towards the USO fund, which is used to finance new rural telephony projects identified by the government.

The panel on Prasar Bharati’s financial restructuring has suggested that private broadcasters and MSOs can be asked to contribute between 5-10 per cent of their annual revenues for a USO fund-type corpus, which can be used to support the over 45,000 workforce of the pubcaster.

Prasar Bharati, which manages Doordarshan and All India Radio, is in the middle of a debate over ways to augment its earnings.

This recommendation, along with others in a nearly 300-page report, is being presently studied by a group of ministers (GoM) before the issue is taken to the Union Cabinet for a formal okay.

The GoM met briefly last week, information and broadcasting minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi told Indiantelevision.com. He did not give any time frame on taking the Prasar Bharati matter to the Cabinet.

However, industry players observe whether there would be increased accountability of Prasar Bharati if a USO fund is created via private sector players’ contribution to partly fund pubcaster’s activities. More importantly, whether the funds would be properly used.

According to Hindu Business Line, of the Rs 107.53 billion collected by the government from telecom companies in the form of USO fund since its inception in 2002-03, a staggering Rs. 70 billion is yet to be disbursed.

The newspaper quoted the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India as saying that undisbursed amount is estimated to cross Rs 250 billion by 2010 against a total collection of Rs. 375 billion, which means only 48 per cent of the fund is expected to be utilised for extending telephone services in the rural areas. The numbers assume significance even as the digital divide between rural and urban is ever increasing.

Meanwhile, letting the pubcaster tap the capital markets and levying a cess on sale of every TV and radio set in the country are amongst some of the other options suggested by the committee on financial rejig of Prasar Bharati.

Though Prasar Bharati closed FY 2006 with record-breaking revenues of over Rs 12 billion, its expenses are so huge that the government is finding it difficult to bridge the chasm between income and expenditure.

Source: Indiantelevision.com

TRAI recommends steps for improvement in national Internet exchange

May 31, 2006

TRAI recommends steps for Improvement in the effectiveness of National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI)TRAI provided its recommendations on Improvement in the effectiveness of National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI), to Department of Information Technology (DIT).National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) was set up on recommendation of TRAI by DIT, Government of India to ensure that Internet traffic, originating and destined for India, should be routed within India only.

It has been observed that a limited number of ISP’s have joined NIXI node.

Major problems identified for this are non-interconnected (standalone) NIXI nodes and also some ISPs not announcing all their routes on NIXI, which is resulting in a lot domestic Internet traffic still being routed via US/Abroad. In addition, the cost of resources (leased lines) required for connecting ISP’s node to NIXI node is also holding back smaller ISPs (class ‘B’ &‘C’) from non-metro cities to join NIXI nodes at metros.

In view of the above, an urgent need is felt for improving the effectiveness of NIXI. With this objective TRAI reiterated that urgent steps are required by Govt. (DIT) in respect of the following:

(i) Interconnection of all the four nodes of NIXI with each other.

(ii) All ISPs connected to NIXI to be mandated to announce all of their routes on NIXI.

(iii) Consideration of establishment of NIXI nodes in all state capitals of the country.

(iv) Subsidizing the cost of leased lines for category B and category C ISP’s node to a NIXI node for purposes of promoting their connectivity with NIXI.

(v) Restructuring of the Board of Directors of NIXI to account for effective and participation from the applicable constituencies.

The detailed letter to Secretary, DIT is available on TRAI’s website at: http://www.trai.gov.in under recommendations.

(S. N. GUPTA)

Pr. Advisor (CN)

Source: Indiantelevision.com

Internet advertising up 38 percent in 1st quarter

May 31, 2006

NEW YORK: U.S. Internet advertising surged 38 percent to a record $3.9 billion in the first quarter as marketers moved additional dollars to the Web, according to data released on Tuesday.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers surveyed leading companies that sell advertising space online, including Yahoo Inc. (YHOO.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and Google Inc. (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research) , which are benefiting as consumers spend more of their media and purchasing time on the Internet.

"The momentum has continued to build in the Internet advertising space," said David Silverman, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers. "More and more advertisers are seeing the effectiveness of the medium."

The IAB and PricewaterhouseCoopers, which have tracked online ad spending since 1996, provide more detailed ad revenue analysis in the second and fourth quarters.

But the preliminary first-quarter figures indicate the strength of online advertising, which grew to a $12.5 billion industry last year from less than $1 billion in 1997.

First-quarter Internet ad revenue was up 38 percent from a year earlier and up 6 percent from the fourth quarter of 2005.

Silverman said the increase from the fourth quarter was notable because year-end advertising tends to be heavy to reach consumers during the peak holiday shopping season.

Source: Reuters

Local content key catalyst

May 30, 2006

Is the consumer IT overtaking commercial IT market in India?

The current IDC report on performance of PC market in year 2005-06 shows quite interesting developments in this industry. That the industry has registered a growth of 30% in overall PC shipments as compared to last fiscal, substantiates the huge potential India has for PCs. The fact that consumer desktops witnessed a growth of 33% vis-a-vis 14% growth in commercial desktops opens a new chapter in the evolution of the PC industry in India — signifying that PCs have started reaching the mainstream of India’s economy — the personal users. There have been several factors behind this silent change happening. And this is a combination of several factors initiated by key manufacturers such as HCL, technological changes and evolution of the digital lifestyle. In the lighter vein, some may attribute this growth to Bollywood brand ambassadors.

What one is seeing is primarily the beginning of a movement called the "IT Virtuous Cycle." A term in which there are three key factors in adoption of IT— increasing affordability, connectivity and content.

The first factor is the increasing affordability of personal computers. Combined initiatives by various players in the ecosystem saw HCL launch a PC costing less than Rs 10,000. Making the PC ownership even simpler, HCL led the way in discussions with key financial institutions to launch India's first attractive EMI based packages to customers. Today, around 20% of consumer PCs are sold through these offers. We have seen computers become more affordable and richer in features.

The second factor for PC adoption is connectivity. As per recent reports from Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the total Internet users by end of 2005 were 3.85 crore — registering an increase of around 54% from 2004-05 statistics. Around 1 out of 8 Internet subscribers today are using broadband connection. It is estimated that by end of next two years, India’s Internet population will cross 10 crore — making India one of the most prolific Internet users across the world. We are seeing rollout of broadband connectivity across the country with telecom majors take fiber to the taluk level and further. We will see rapid adoption of wireless technologies such as WiMax that solves the hurdle of high speed last mile connectivity. PC manufacturers are tying up with service providers to offer PC bundled with broadband connectivity. Players such as HCL have already tied up with telecom vendors such as Airtel, MTNL and BSNL in this regard.

The third key factor is content or in other words the reason to buy computers. Today, both PC manufacturers as well as software developers are taking aggressive initiatives to enable PCs for multi-lingual applications.

Packages such as Multi-lingual MS Office, and other multi-lingual office automation packages being very widely available today and with the adoption of Unicode as a standard, one will have compatibility between different multi-lingual applications. These capabilities for multi-lingual support as well as development of Unicode applications will result in the evolution of local and regional language on-line content and software — thus bringing more and more customers closer to interact, learn and exchange information through computers.

We are already witnessing adoption of IT for citizen-centric services in areas like telecom, medicine, education, agri-markets and rural empowerment.

Source: Financial Express, Written by George Paul – The writer is executive VP, marketing, HCL Infosystems

TV18 fourth quarter net up 112 per cent at Rs 21 crore

May 30, 2006

Television Eighteen Group, which owns news channels like CNBC TV18, CNN-IBN, Awaaz and Channel 7, has posted a record net profit of Rs 21.91 crore in Q4, registering a whopping growth of 112 per cent on a year-on-year basis. In the same quarter of last financial year, its revenue saw 66 per cent growth at Rs 53.51 crore. The company has declared dividend of 25 per cent for its shareholders.

The company’s annual revenue for FY06 stands at record high of Rs 152 crore, up 54 per cent, while its annual net profit stands at Rs 53.49 crore, up 68 per cent. The company said in a statement that the revenue figures did not include revenues from Awaaz and CNN IBN.

The Internet business of the Group posted a whopping 600 per cent revenue growth over last year. The Group announced its foray into multiple Internet verticals and the home shopping space. It has also acquired a 50 per cent stake with the Indian arm of jobstreet.com. The company also announced that the Internet ventures of the Group would be hived off and consolidated into new wholly owned subsidiary with the aim of imparting focus and unlocking value in the Internet business.

When asked whether the company would list the separate Internet entity in the stock market, Haresh Chawla, CEO, TV18, said, "All options are open before us, including listing in the stock market."

An elated Raghav Bahl, Managing Director, TV18, said, "We are delighted to report a record quarter for the company – in terms of revenue performance and the spectacular success of CNN-IBN – which in just five months of launch has become the dominant player in the English general news category, firmly establishing the TV18 Group as India’s premier news network. We believe our new initiatives in the Internet and home shopping spaces, too, will contribute significantly to our future growth."

Meanwhile, the group is planning a relaunch of its newly acquired Hindi news channel, Channel 7, on June 5.

Source: exchange4media

Lok Sabha TV to become a 24 hr channel from Monsoon Session

May 30, 2006

Lok Sabha TV to become a 24 hr channel from Monsoon Session, to be available on DD DTH platform

After successfully running the test transmission from May 10-23, Lok Sabha TV will become a full-fledged 24-hour channel from the Monsoon Session of Parliament, which is expected to commence from the last week of July. During the test run, the channel was running from 10.30 am to 7 pm.

Asked how it was tackling the distribution hassle, Bhaskar Ghose, Chief Executive, Lok Sabha TV, said, "Our marketing persons are busy negotiating with MSOs and cable operators all over the country. Till now, we have been using the Doordarshan transponder, so the channel was carried as one of the DD channels. But from the next Monsoon Session, we will be using our own transponder. However, we are confident that there won’t be much problem putting our channel on various cable networks."

"The channel will be also carried on the DTH platform of Prasar Bharat," informed Ghosh. He, however, added that they had no plans to launch the channel on various other private DTH platforms.

On the issue of having sponsorship, Ghosh said, "We have already sent our rate cards to various PSUs and some of them have evinced interest. At a later stage, we may seek sponsorship from private companies."

On the programming side, Ghosh said, "There will be programmes that will familiarise the MPs and their work. It will also have programmes demystifying Parliamentary proceedings, programmes on Outstanding Parliamentarians, etc."

"Many a times it happens that important issues are raised in the Parliament, but it goes uncovered in the media. We will have views on these issues by experts in those fields. The channel will also cover general issues concerning the public, like healthcare, water, education, etc," Ghosh said.

Source: exchange4media

Star to launch news channels

May 30, 2006

NEW DELHI: The broadcaster of Star News, Media Content & Communications Services India Pvt Ltd (MCCS) is set to launch two to three news channels in the English and regional language genre, in a bid to capture a bigger pie of the Rs 500 crore Indian news market. The company is also planning a slew of programming initiatives on Star News to make it the number one channel in Hindi, toppling Aaj Tak.

The news channels – one in English and rest in regional languages – are expected to roll out by the year end, according to an industry source.

"Star News is excited about the hectic activity in the regional language space and would come out with one or two offerings there. While the south won't be touched, these channels could be catering to

niche audiences in the north and western parts of the country. There would be an English channel as well as the company sees some unexplored growth potential there as well", he said.

Officials at Star News, however, are keeping their cards close to the chest. When quizzed about the new offerings, Uday Shankar, chief executive officer, MCCS, declined to comment but said that the company would look at both organic and inorganic growth options.

The news channel, which is second in marketshare after Aaj Tak, is also looking at a "news recast" and a slew of new programmes to entice the audiences. For the week ended May 14, the marketshare of Aaj Tak and Star News (as per TAM figures) stood at 23 and 21 per cent respectively.

"Starting from today, we would have a primetime news bulletin called 'Satyamev Jayate' where we would focus on the biggest news story of the day, how it impacts people and not as a disembodied piece of information," said Shankar.

Source: Business Standard

STAR files undertaking with TDSAT; Tata Sky DTH venture may get delayed

May 30, 2006

In an interesting turn of event, which may delay STAR’s DTH foray, STAR India has submitted an undertaking with the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) that it won’t give its signals to any DTH operator (including its own Tata Sky DTH) in reply to Zee-owned ASC Enterprises’ plea that it might lose significant business in such a scenario.

ASC Enterprises, which runs the only private DTH service, Dish TV, till now, had filed a complaint with TDSAT holding that if during June any new DTH system was launched carrying STAR signals, then it would lose significant business as STAR was not sharing its signal with Dish TV. TDSAT adjourned the final hearing on the case to July 3, 2006 without any further order.

Dish TV has invoked the clause 6.5 of the ‘Schedule to the License Agreement’ for DTH services against STAR, which says that any DTH licensee will not carry the signals of a broadcaster against whom any regulatory body, tribunal or court has found that it has refused access on a non-discriminatory basis to another DTH operator.

A Dish TV official when contacted said that the court observation was a positive development. "The launch of the Tata Sky DTH service now depends on the availability of STAR channels on Dish TV platform. Definitely the launch of its DTH will get delayed till the TDSAT final order, which is on July 3."

ASC Enterprises (Dish TV) had filed a petition against STAR India with the TDSAT on May 3, 2006, alleging that it to be consistently adopting ‘dilatory tactics’ and stipulating terms and conditions which were ‘impractical, impermissible and unreasonable’.

Source: exchange4media

Radio City 106.4 FM enters Hyderabad with much fanfare

May 30, 2006

Hyderabad now has a new FM station to tune to – Radio City 106.4 FM. The station was launched with much fanfare by Telugu actor Nagarjuna on May 29, 2006. This is the fifth FM station of Music Broadcast Pvt Ltd (MBPL), Radio City’s promoter, in India.

Radio City 106.4 FM will go on-air on May 30, 2006 with an exclusive hour-long tête-à-tête with Nagarjuna, which will be hosted by RJ RJ Vamsee on his early morning show ‘Kusalama… Hyderabad’.

Radio City’s programming for Hyderabad is an outcome of an extensive and in-depth research undertaken by industry experts. This has resulted in a host of customised Hindi and Telugu programmes reflecting the ‘true Sound of Hyderabad’.

The findings of the research have helped the FM station to provide listeners with intelligent, collective and family entertainment. With innovative shows like ‘Re-charge Hyderabad’, ‘Chalo Chalte Raho’, ‘Life ho to Aiseech’, and ‘Filmcity Express’, especially developed for Hyderabad, the programming mix of Radio City 106.4 FM includes shades of romance, comedy, josh, fantasy, novelty, unpredictability and masti – something to please everyone, in every mood.

Speaking on the occasion of the launch, Apurva Purohit, CEO, Radio City, said, "We are thrilled and proud to launch in Hyderabad. Our research helped us to understand the minds of the ardent Hyderabadi listeners and confirmed that Hyderabadis will love the Radio City kind of music and programming content. Hyderabad is an extremely important market for us and we are eagerly looking forward to engage with our listeners. Our music expertise, innovative programming line-up, and our brand promise of ‘City Mein Kho Jao’ will enthuse listeners to indulge and escape with the help of music. We hope the success we have enjoyed in cities like Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi with listeners making Radio City an integral part of their lives would be duplicated here in Hyderabad as well."

As a prelude to the launch, Radio City had organised a RJ Hunt in Hyderabad, which received an overwhelming response. The selected RJs were provided rigorous training to hone their skills to develop them into all-round professionals.

The launch of Radio City 106.4 FM is supported by a 360-degree marketing campaign. Some of the off-air initiatives to connect with the listeners include road shows, human inflates at high density areas, Radio City booths at malls and multiplexes, on-ground contests and events, Radio City branded buses, and cavalcade around the city, among others.

Radio City has so far captured the hearts of listeners across Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Lucknow and has recently won licenses in 16 new Indian cities under the Phase II of FM expansion.

 

Source: exchange4media