The Kalanithi Maran-controlled Sun Network, which owns a bouquet of nine regional language channels, is planning to go pay by early 2003. Its Telugu language channels - Gemini TV and Teja TV would go pay by September or October with the rest of the Sun channels following suit in six months time.
Sun Network has nine satellite channels in its portfolio - Gemini and Teja for the Telugu audience, Sun TV, KTV and Sun News for Tamil viewers, Udaya, Ushe and Udaya News in Kannada language and Surya TV in Malayalam. It also runs a cable channel SCV (Sumangali Cable Vision).
According to sources, the company is confident that even if a cable operator refuses to comply, another will take his place as its channels are very popular. It does not expect any churning despite its nearest rival ETV being a free-to-air channel.
According to industry sources, Gemini has over 50 per cent share in the Rs 120-crore TV ad market in Andhra Pradesh, while Sun accounts for around 80 per cent of the Rs 200-crore TV ad market in Tamil Nadu.