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SONY:THE BIG PICTURE

Thakur

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It's the festival of lights. And for many the festival of noise courtesy exploding fireworks. In the hope of reducing the number of those belonging to the latter tribe, we, at indiantelevision.com, decided to put a display of firecracker articles for visitors this Diwali. We have had many top journalists reporting, analysing, over the many years of indiantelevision.com's existence. The articles we are presenting are representative of some of the best writing on the business of cable and satellite television and media for which we have gained renown. Read on to get a flavour and taste of indiantelevision.com over the years from some of its finest writers. And have a happy and safe Diwali!

(Written By Anil Wanvari in 2000)

Posted on : 30 Dec 2000 07:47 pm

Sony Entertainment Television (Set) is fighting back. Reeling from the loss of audiences to the huge runaway success of Star Plus‘ Kaun Banega Crorepati, it has rolled out seven new shows, has juggled around with its FPC, and has plans to have more film star based events on its channels.

"You ain‘t seen nothing yet," says CEO Kunal Dasgupta. "This is just a start, there‘s lots more coming viewers‘ way. Read my lips: we are going to recapture our market."

Additionally, Dasgupta and his men are drawing up a corporate blueprint for Sony Entertainment Television. Says Dasgupta: "I am looking for business growth in three major revenue streams: free to air television advertising sales, pay television subscription and theatrical distribution and production of films."

Its first major foray outside its core television business and into Hindi movies is commencing with the launch of Mission Kashmir - a film it is distributing internationally. The movie is slated to premier in October 2000 in both New York and London. Two other movies are in the process of being signed on.

"We would like to produce 10 films a year," says COO Rajesh Pant whose been given the responsibility of steering Sony Entertainment into new businesses, the foremost of which is theatrical distribution.

Dasgupta says that the Hindi movie business could end up being as big as Sony‘s television business is today. "It would be in the region of Rs 3-4 billion a year. We have to ramp up to this level."

The company does not have a presence in cable TV, as compared to the market leader Zee TV which owns Siticable. But Dasgupta does not believe that it is a disadvantage. He has cobbled together a bouquet of channels, which are being distributed by Sony Entertainment in order to create a pay TV package and make India‘s errant cable operators pay.

Currently, it is chalking up revenues of $10 million per annum from its pay TV business. In the bag are channels such as CNBC India, AXN, Set Max. It is handling both the distribution and ad sales for the three channels, a kind of model which it maintains it will follow.

Set Max, an events, sports and movies channel is the most recent of its additions as it was encrypted in July 2000. Some 1,700 decoders have been placed in the marketplace giving it a penetration of 2.3 million homes. "We want to take this up to 4,000 boxes within the next couple of months," says Dasgupta.

AXN on the other hand has a claimed 2.5 million paying subscribers - that is cable operators are claiming that figure as their subscriber base when they are making payments to the Sony distribution team. CNBC has a penetration of 1 million with cable operators paying between Rs 3 and Rs 5 depending on the subscriber base they are disclosing, reveals Pant. 720 boxes for the business channel have been activated.

"We are working on our pay TV plans hard and are in talks with several programmers," says Dasgupta. "The market for international product is opening up in India. We see another three or four channels joining our package," adds Pant.

He expects pay TV operations to pitch in with Rs 1.5 billion in revenues in the next three years.

Currently, both Sony and Star TV India are believed to be the front runners to distribute the Disney channel in India. Disney has been hovering around on the sidelines of the Indian television market for nearly half a decade without talking the full plunge with a 24 hour channel.

Recently, it terminated its programming contract with Zee TV on which it used to air two hour long morning and evening animation programming bands. It opted for Sony Entertainment Television instead. The network is looking at really creating a lot of hype around these two bands in the next two months, and will even fly viewers to Disneyland every week should they win the contest.

"Disney animation is extremely popular in India and we are serious about taking the maximum out of it and make it a big viewing option," says Dasgupta.According to him the standoff for the Disney distribution contract is sometime away but he is going to ensure that Sony will be at forefront when it happens.

On the international front, Sony Entertainment is looking at foraying into newer markets teeming with pockets of people of Indian origin. It already has a presence in the UK, is getting ready for a launch in the US, is aiming for Africa, is already viewed in Malaysia. On the roadmap are possible forays into Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji.

Pant says the stellar performance has been in the UK, where it is being sold along with Bollywood music and film channel B4U as a package on the BskyB platform and on cable systems. "We are at 12,000 subscribers last year around this time and we were falling," he says. "This year we are at 62,000 and climbing rapidly. It has been phenomenal growth." 25,000 subscribers are on cable and 37,000 on the DTH package with B4U. As against this Zee is at some 130,000 subscribers in the UK.

While some people credit the super showing to the slick new movies that B4U brings to the table because of co-promoters Kishore Lulla and Bharat Shah, Dasgupta says Sony is attracting audiences too because of its well-packaged programming.

.



http://www.indiantelevision.com/news_analysis/sony.htm
 

sainibro

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in short wht is this

the thread title is also confusing

 

Shadow

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did u just post a 15 year old article??

 
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