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January 07, 2008

New entertainment channels: More Star TV clones?

Businessworld has an article on the two new Hindi-language entertainment channels launched by two former Star TV bosses - both of whose parent companies have raised PE financing.
Entertainment television can be like a soap opera: dreams, drama and declarations in a bid for the audience’s heart. Two men who headed the largest TV network as CEOs of Star Entertainment and Star India, and who left earlier this year to start their own outfits, have made their plans public. On 12 November, Peter Mukerjea launched his flagship channel 9X. Around the same time, Sameer Nair, now CEO of NDTV Imagine, announced that his Hindi entertainment channel would be on air next January.

... Nair says the market is ever-expanding, with no need to take away audiences from competitors. “The audiences will come in when they find there is something special on offer,” he says. He may have a point. Four years ago, all-India television viewership ratings (TVRs) of Kyunki Saas… were as high as 11 or 12. Last week, TVRs for the same show were 4.5; for Zee’s Banoo Main Teri Dulhann they were 4.2. And the two shows were the No.1 and No. 2 soaps for the week.

INX’s Peter Mukerjea sees the gap between the channels narrowing. “When a show touches a TVR of 1.0 in the US, there is a party to celebrate the event,” he says. “Much like with the news channels, the same trend will become prevalent.” As he points out, there has been no new entertainment channel launch in the past 10 years. A long-time ad sales man with Star, Mukerjea claims the splintered market in entertainment channels will benefit media planning in the long run as advertising is targeted according to the demographic profiles of individual shows.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the private equity and venture capital ecosystem in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports.