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Writer: Judy Franko - Monday, Aug 13,2007 9:20 AM

Two Congressmen gear up to launch television channels in Tamil Nadu

Two Congressmen gear up to launch television channels in Tamil Nadu

The already crowded Tamil television space poised for some more action. Two Congress leaders in Tamil Nadu are all set to launch their television channels even as the DMK is gearing up for the launch of its Kalaignar TV.

While Lok Sabha member KV Thangabalu's Mega TV is slated to launch on August 20, the birth anniversary of late Rajiv Gandhi, Vasantha Kumar's Vasanth TV will hit the airwaves in two months’ time. Among the two, Vasanth TV is expected to adopt a pro-Congress line, while Mega TV claims that it will not explicitly support any political party.

According to Vasantha Kumar, it could take one or two months to launch his channel. The channel proposes to offer wholesome entertainment with the ‘right mix’ of entertainment and news. A language news paper quoted Kumar as saying, “The channel has the blessings of Madam Sonia Gandhi and it will certainly support the Congress party. We will give importance to Sonia Gandhi’s programmes. This does not mean that we will be partial. In fact, our news content will be of very high quality.”

Kumar is the younger brother of Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President Kumari Anandhan. His Vasanth & Co is a name to reckon with in the field of home appliances. It is learnt that Kumar has invested a huge amount of money and imported hi-tech equipment and software to ensure the quality of all programmes.

The Thangabalu-promoted Mega TV will be launched by SilverStar Communications Ltd. Thangabalu’s wife, Jayanthi Thangabalu, is the Managing Director of the company. Sudhagar, who has had plenty of experience producing programmes for Vijay TV, is the Vice-President of the company.

"The channel is keen on producing good quality news programmes besides a number of game shows. There will not be too many tele-serials,” Thangabalu had said at a press conference held in Chennai recently. Mega TV also aims to ‘propagate the ideology of the Congress, nationalism and national development’.

He claimed that Mega TV’s programmes would help to “wean away youth from the Western culture and inculcate Tamil culture besides establishing the rights of women”. When asked whether there was any scope for yet another channel in the already overcrowded Tamil satellite channel world, Thangabalu said there was scope for more TV channels as the state stood first among TV-viewing audience. Mega TV would be a free-to-air 24-hour entertainment and news channel, he said, adding that ISRO’s INSAT 2B satellite would be used for beaming programmes.

Perhaps Tamil Nadu is the only state in the country (and Kerala to some extent) where the media scenario is perilously interwoven with the political fabric of the state. Except Congress, each major political party boasts of its own television channel. While Jaya TV shares its name with AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa, Makkal TV owes allegiance to PMK (Pattali Makkal Katchi).

Though Kalanithi Maran promoted Sun TV shares its name with the DMK party symbol – that of the rising sun – the channel's neutrality has come into fore of late, which has also earned critical acclaim for the channel from various quarters, blame it on DMK, which decided to launch its own channel after the fallout with Maran family. And now the Congress also seems to have woken up to complete the party in the state.

Also see:

Changing equations: Raj TV to launch 'Kalaignar TV' with DMK symbol as channel logo

Of political parties and media ownership in Tamil Nadu

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