The Film Producers Council of Chennai and Jaya TV came to a compromise on the 14th, whereby the channel will provide a free half hour slot from Monday to Friday, where exclusive clippings, trailers and interviews will be aired in a program called Vellithurai.
At a time when channels were paying huge sums to acquire the rights to popular films, distributors were finding themselves in a fix. To protect their interests, the Film Producers Council of Chennai decided on a set of regulations that wouldn’t permit channels to air songs and clippings from films for more than three minutes. Also, actors were forbidden from giving interviews, at the cost of having to pay fines.
There are currently 14 channels operating in the Rs 162-crore Tamil television channel market. Sun Network is the undisputed number one, controlling around 50 per cent of the market. Sun’s own KTV has taken over the second spot from Raj TV that enjoys a market share of 30%. But despite a much smaller market share of roughly 6%, K.Balaswaminathan, GM, Jaya TV explains, “In three years we have risen steadily to the position of number two because we have variety in our channel”.
Despite making claims on how they do not air too many film-based shows, expectations are high from Vellithurai. Says Balaswaminathan, “It might not do for us what KBC did for Star Plus. But it will definitely increase our viewership.”
With popular serials like Veettiku Veedu and Anni, a game show by Khusbhoo called Koteeshwari and a live ‘who dunnit’ show, Jaya TV hopes to break the monopoly enjoyed by Sun TV. Reveals Balaswaminathan, “We have roped in masters like K.Balachander and Visu. Otherwise we have shows on Bharatnatyam and a comedy series. We also aired cricket live, with viewers calling in to talk to K.Srikanth about the game. Sponsored by MRF, the program was an instant success”.
Aware of the brand loyalty that Sun TV commands, Balaswaminathan claims that it is only a period of time before Jaya TV is noticed for its variety and quality.
With a turnover of 35 to 40 crore this year, Balaswaminathan predicts 100% growth in the next year. “We have been undergoing several changes to reposition JayaTV. And we have succeeded as we now have brands like HLL and Colgate advertising on our channels”, exudes Balaswaminathan.
Some media professionals attribute Jaya TV’s rise to Ms.J.Jayalalitha’s reign. But JayaTV refutes these charges by pointing out that Sun TV is in the number one slot even now. “Perhaps Jaya TV is at a disadvantage with having very little to do, with SCV monopolizing the Cable scene”, says Balaswaminathan. But nevertheless, he is optimistic about the future of JayaTV.