Tamizh-th-thirai, the Tamil entertainment channel which has been waiting to see the rays of daylight for a long time now, will finally go on air from April 22, 2005, according to the promoters of the channel. They added that the channel would be the first of three to come from the group and an IPO is in the offing in early 2006.
At a press conference to announce the much-debated date of the launch, Bhaarathi Raaja, one of the founding Directors of the channel, said, "We are here to announce that Tamizh-th-thirai is finally being launched. It took three generations to build the Tanjore temple, but it has proved to be a monument that has withstood the test of time. Similarly, Tamizh-th-thirai will hopefully stand the test of faith of the viewers." The channel is to reach homes across 110 countries via cable initially.
The test transmission of the channel is expected to begin by April 15, and it is being beamed from Bangkok, through the satellite Thaicom3 with a downlink frequency of 4656 Mhz. The channel for the first time shared a news reel with the media, indicating a programming mix that will challenge the existing players with its film-based programming strength, and revealed the other content that is to be viewed by Tamilians worldwide.
Adding to what Bhaarathi Raaja had to share, R K Selvamani, another Director of the channel, said, " Tamizh-th-thirai was initially envisioned as a three-channel bouquet. This is the first. Once we get the clearance for the Indian linking, we can start with the second channel."
While the first channel is a 24-hour free to air entertainment channel, the second channel according to Selvamani is the movie channel. The promoters currently are businessman and hotelier A C Shanmugam, Producer 'Kovai' Thambi, Bhaarathi Raaja and R K Selvamani. The channel is planning an IPO in early 2006,to take care of its enhanced funding requirements envisioned in that time frame. The channel is also engaged in production of feature films for release on the channel.
A third channel, on the cards alongside the IPO, is something the promoters are not willing to talk about. "It will be a concept that doesn't exist in India currently, and we cannot talk about it," he said. Tamizh-th-thirai, or TTv, has a long distance to transit before walking alongside the leaders including Sun, Jaya, Vijay and Raj in the Tamil satellite television space. But with the drivers of entertainment in Tamil Nadu (film industry) behind them, they may just cover some distance.