More not merrier in South TV industry

The market may have been dynamic in this part of the country, but it cannot support the increasing numbers of TV channels, caution industry experts

e4m by Deepa Balasubramanian
Published: Aug 28, 2014 8:11 AM  | 3 min read
More not merrier in South TV industry

The South Indian Television Industry has always been dynamic, with audience preferences being very different from the rest of the country.

Close to 15 new channels are expected to enter the market in the next two years. Recently, Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry launched an English Television Channel ‘TV New’ dealing exclusively with business. Another, Janam TV, is about to launch in October. At the same time, several channels have shut down in the past, due to their inability to produce unique content that hooks the viewers.

The broadcasting industry in the South has been dominated by players such as Sun Network, Asianet, ETV, TV9 and some national channels with a significant presence in the market, including Star and ZEE. In such a scenario, will the emergence of new channels help the market grow, or simply add to the clutter?

exchange4media got industry experts to share their views. 

Shreyams Kumar, Director, Marketing, Mathrubhumi Group said, “It is not easy for a new channel to survive in this chaotic market. Unless the content is unique, it will be tough for them to survive and grow.”

His views are shared by Varghese Chandy, Chief GM, Marketing & Advertising Sales, Malayala Manorama, “There is a new channel being launched every day in the different states. It is tough for any new entrant to sustain and survive, unless it is niche and unique. Longevity is important for any brand to be successful.”

Experts feel that cross media ownership - which has been the point of discussion in the recent past - plays a significant role. A media person with stakes in print publication or television, is in a better position to make a sense of the industry and launch new, standout properties.  

No room for more of the same

Expressing concern over the glut of TV channels being run by politicians and industrialists,  experts say most of them only serve to further their personal interests. Also, the strategy of emerging with packaging similar content as unique, does not work anymore.

The head of a leading media agency, on the condition of anonymity, said, “It is difficult to sustain and gain market share at this point, when the broadcasting industry is facing a lot of troubles already. When there are channels like Asianet, Manorama News and India Vision, which are pioneers in the market, there is very little scope for new channels to grow.”

One of the leading broadcasters, sounded concerned about the trend too, “The market is already too cluttered. I don’t think it can support emergence of any more channels. After all, it is the fight between the three leading channels and not the rest.”

Also, the south Indian television market is heavily focussed on fiction shows and movies. Non-fiction content may have made some early inroads only. For channels to differentiate and distinguish themselves with fiction, content is a challenge and the industry remains largely sceptical about its viability. 

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