A new star in the southern skies

Written by Anushree Chandran | Updated: Jul 23 2013, 09:31am hrs
The Star network has launched a second general entertainment channel (GEC) called Suvarna Plus in the Kannada language space. The channel went on air from July 14. Star already has a GEC channel called Suvarna in the Kannada general entertainment genre, and the latest entrant only strengthens its position in this space. The broadcaster says that though both the channels operate in the same market and cater to the same viewer base, they are positioned differently. While Suvarna primarily offers fiction, Suvarna Plus will be a mixed bag of comedy, non-fiction, movies and music. The channel will also offer content targeted at the youth with shows such as Campus Connect.

Suvarna was launched in 2007 and connected mainly with the female audience. It offered popular shows in Kannada such as Amrutavarshini and Kannadada Kotyadhipathi, the Kannada version of reality show Kaun Banega Crorepati. K Madahavan, managing director at Asianet Communications said that Karnataka has been a key market for Star and it sees huge potential there. Suvarna has been offering wholesome family entertainment to Kannada homes and is the leader in prime-time entertainment. Suvarna Plus is our new offering which will have a new perspective in terms of entertainment. Both these channels will have distinctive content offerings. With the launch of Suvarna Plus we intend to increase our dominance in Kannada GEC market, he said.

As per advisory firm Deloitte India, the media and entertainment industry in the south (film, television, print, radio) was estimated at R21,190 crore in 2012. Driven by a high demand base and high technology adoption, the industry is poised to grow at a CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of 14% till 2016. Many players at a national level are increasingly showing interest in tapping into this growing southern market. The market is dominated by television (58%), followed by print (29%). The media and entertainment market in Tamil Nadu was estimated at R7620 crore , while the Andhra Pradesh market was estimated at R6480 crore in year 2012. Karnataka and Kerala markets were estimated at R3985 crore and R3105 crore respectively. Karnataka is expected to touch R4470 crore by the end of this financial year. Deloitte estimates that the Karnataka market will reach R6,715 crore by 2016, growing at a CAGR of 14% year-on-year.

Smita Jha, leader - entertainment and media practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers said that after the success of the Hindi general entertainment genre, the next wave of growth would be in the regional general entertainment channels, which is also a natural extension of the Hindi GEC businesses. Large regional markets with high consumer spending typically become attractive markets for national broadcasters to expand into, she said.

A south based media buyer from Lintas Media Group (LMG), who did not want to be named, said that Star was preparing itself for the 12+2 ad cap initiated by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) because it made commercial sense to have two channels in every genre. Star had Star Plus, and yet they launched a second Hindi GEC called Life Ok. In the movies genre, they have Star Gold and yet they launched Movies Ok. Its a good strategy to have he said. In the Hindi general entertainment space

Star Plus takes lead, while its flanker second general entertainment channel Life

Ok assumes the fifth or sixth position. As per data issued on June 26 2013, Star Plus had 243 gross rating points (GRP) followed by Zee with 209 GRP. Colors trails in third place with 188 GRP and Sony Entertainment comes fourth place with 149 GRP. Sab TV generated 138 GRP while Life OK generated 136 GRP.

He said that till a few years back Udaya TV was the undisputed leader in the Kannada language television entertainment space, but in recent times other channels such as Suvarna TV, ETV Kannada and Zee Kannada are catching up. The gap has narrowed considerably and with the launch of this new channel, it will narrow down even more, he said. Mona Jain, chief executive of ViVaki Exchange, Publicis Groupe said that with the onset of digitisation, it was a natural order of things that more channels would be launched. Regional viewership was on the rise and most of the new launches will be in this space, she said.