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Turner Reliance in Tie up for mobile

Turner Reliance in Tie up for mobile

MUMBAI: Turner International India has tied up with Reliance Communications to make available news channel CNN International as live stream 24-hours a day to compatible Reliance mobile phone users across India. Through this strategic partnership, Reliance mobile users (online streaming capable phones) would be able to access CNN International’s trademark live breaking news and programming initiatives on their phones or other handheld devices. CNN is also the first international news channel to partner with Reliance, a press release stated here on Tuesday. In addition to online streaming of CNN, Hollywood Express episodes will also be streamed on the mobile. On the entertainment side. Reliance subscribers will soon be able to enjoy ring tones, wallpapers, animations.

Not only movies, PVR now believes in bringing smiles

Not only movies, PVR now believes in bringing smiles

IT WAS springtime when 15 business heads of New Delhi-based film exhibition & distribution company PVR gathered at the Capitals’ Hyatt Regency hotel for a mock interview, wherein a role-playing Vir Sanghvi (TV show anchor) grilled promoters Ajay Bijli and Sanjiv Kumar Bijli on a range of issues related to entertainment in 2015. On the critical why-did-you-choose-entertainment query, the elder Bijli (Ajay) mentioned that it was time to look beyond 70 mm, to reach out for something else. That was the clincher. Next, this Technicolor frat sat down to brainstorm about what lay beyond movies over a four-day offsite. “Not just movies, but holistic entertainment was the outcome,” observes Gautam Dutta, PVR’s head of Cinemedia.

After a decade of the multiplex in India, the Rs 101-crore PVR is donning a new hat. The big daddy of multiplexes, which started getting people back to the theatres 10 years ago and went public in January 2 006, is set to sport the all-new ‘Bringing Smiles’ tagline replacing ‘Movies First’, complete with a logo rejig. In order to bring smiles, the company would now strive to cover most facets of entertainment, not just movies.

“We’re getting into food courts, video parlours, bowling centres, fitness and youth zone and linking it all up with the multiplex for a holistic entertainment brand,” says Mr. Dutta. The company’s food court business started in end April 2007, with a 13,000 square feet food court in Sahara Mall, Gurgaon. Alongside, a management rejig has already taken place and here’s how it looks – Ashish Shukla is head of exhibition, Amitav Vardhan is head of retail entertainment, Ashish Saxena is the head of content, Gautam Dutta is head of cinemedia, and Pramod Arora is president and CEO of all the divisions. Ajay Bijli remains the chairman & managing director of the company and all divisions report to him, while Sanjiv Kumar Bijli is the company’s joint managing director. Last year, PVR had 14 million visitors, and the firm is eyeing 20 million in 2007. Also, with Saatchi & Saatchi as its new advertising agency, it’ll be interesting to see how PVR’s new hat fits.

The plan really is to seamlessly integrate the movie hall with a food court, video parlour, bowling centers, fitness and youth zones — the complete gamut of entertainment. Today, the company is striving to go beyond exhibition and distribution by making inroads into retail, and even production. It’s got two big-budget movies lined up with Aamir Khan by year end, Tare Zameen Par and Jane Tu Ya Jane Na. “Movie is my raw material and we’re keen on distribution overseas as well now,” claims Ajay Bijli. In the recent past, the company has distributed potboilers like Don, Omkara, Honeymoon Travels and Bheja Fry in select areas.

Another key driver for PVR to foray into the “holistic entertainment” space was lower cinema realizations compared to the returns from, say, retail. On average per month, while cinema fetches Rs 5,000-7,000 per square feet, the returns from retail stands at Rs 10,000 per square feet. And for luxury retailing, the average returns can go anywhere upward of Rs 14,000 per square feet.
That perhaps explains why even the logo of the company is undergoing surgery at the London-based brand expert’ Evolve Creative’s office. “We’re not doing any major modifications apart from changing the baseline, just re-freshing the logo. The blue and gold will remain as the blue is nice and cool and the gold gives us some kind of solidarity and quality,” points out Mr. Bijli.

Now that’s old hat considering PVR has already updated its logo twice in a decade. To decipher how the new hat fits, watch this space.

Raj TV plans cable network to take on Sun

Raj TV plans cable network to take on Sun

In Talks with Hathway, Others for Network across Tamil Nadu

RAJ TV, basking under the new-found patronage extended by Tamil Nadu’s ruling DMK party, is in talks with leading cable operators including Hathway to launch a state-wide cable network to take on Sun TV. Raj’s move comes amidst chief minister Karunanidhi’s high-profile feud with the Maran family led by grand nephew Dayanidhi Maran and just days after it announced plans to launch a Tamil language channel with the DMK’s blessings.

“It is true that we are looking at getting into the distribution business in Tamil Nadu and are in talks with a few MSOs. Nothing has been finalized as yet,” Raj TV CEO M Rajendran told ET from Chennai. Sources said Chennai-based PVK group is also holding similar talks with Raj TV.

Sun TV’s bouquet of channels reign supreme in the state, while cable arm Sumangali is a virtual monopoly. Raj’s entry into distribution and the expansion of its network is bound to put Sun on the back foot. “Yes, we are aware of Raj TV talking to the current fringe operating MSOs, as well as cable operators who they are trying to woo to get on to their side. We are internally strategizing how we can combat this move,” a Sun TV official, on condition of anonymity said.

Sun TV’s Sumangali Cable Vision (SCV), the multi-system operator (MSO), has a market share of over 80% of the cable operators throughout Tamil Nadu, Moreover, distribution has been the key factor for the Sun TV group’s success. Through SCV, Sun managed to rule the television roost, keeping a tight hold on competition and keeping them at bay. Raj TV is banking on the fact that the last-mile cable operators are largely controlled by the DMK, and are staunch supporters of Karunanidhi. With the ruling DMK no more backing Sun TV, a lot of cable operators are now weighing their options to see which side is more beneficial to swing to.

Apart from foraying into distribution, Raj TV is also planning to launch direct-to-home services.

Media planners have already begun voicing their concerns. Says a media buyer on condition of anonymity, “Raj TV is suddenly buoyant, with investment behind pumped into the channel.

Moreover, the distribution arena is also unclear as of now. So, these are definitely challenging times for Sun TV. Also, the past weeks have seen Raj TV shares going up, and if the distribution obstacle is removed, there will definitely be a change of dynamics in the. Tamil TV world.”

Meanwhile, the ongoing media war in Tamil Nadu between Marans and Karunanidhis has moved from television channels to movie rights, Television rights of the most expensive Tamil film ever made -Rajnikant starrer Sivaji – have been sold to the soon to be launched DMK-run Kalaignar TV.

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