K. Satyamurty

The joint venture with Balaji Telefilms is being finalised

  • Star India to be present in all southern languages soon
  • Network certain of emerging a winner with DTH model

    BANGALORE: National television networks are waking up to the business potential of channels in southern languages.

    Star India is about to step into a market already dominated by regional players. It has at present only a Tamil channel, Star Vijay, which it acquired in 2002.

    Now, a Kannada channel from the Star network, which is more popular in the Hindi-speaking regions, is certain.

    Star India's president Ajay Vidyasagar, who spent some years in Chennai reshaping Star Vijay with innovative content, told The Hindu that the joint venture with Balaji Telefilms, known for its popular serials, was being finalised, and Star was likely to have a majority stake in it. "We will be present in all languages of the region soon," he said. Star Vijay, which now contributes to eight per cent of Star India's estimated advertisement revenues of Rs. 1500 annually, may also be in for a revamp as part of the broadcaster's investments, equal to $10 million this year.

    Apart from the music talent hunt, "Voice of India", from May 18 on Star Plus, it will have other new Hindi programmes.

    With regard to the Direct-to-Home (DTH) access model, he was confident that Star India could emerge a winner, as it was a majority partner with Tata Sky. "The DTH model is right now popular among rural viewers, who form 60 per cent of subscribers. For those in the "cable-dark" areas such as the more remote villages or plantation belts on hills, it will provide a new viewing experience," he said.

    Viewers in the cities too were slowly switching to the model as they needed to pay only for the channels they preferred, he added.

    Star Vijay is known for its creative content such as the "Jodi Number One" competitive dance programme, featuring popular movie and TV actors, and the reality show "Kadhai Alla Nijam".