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Help Sun evaluating entry into Marathi, Bengali TV space
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Kalanithi Maran-promoted Sun TV Network is considering expansion into regional language television broadcasting outside the southern belt.

Marathi and Bengali are the two markets under scrutiny but nothing has been finalised yet, an industry source said.

The Marathi and Bengali general entertainment channel (GEC) space has seen a rapid expansion in the last couple of years. Several players are eyeing entry into these markets. Viacom18, for instance, is planning to launch a Marathi GEC towards the tail end of next fiscal.



“We are evaluating expansion into non-south regional language markets in the broadcasting space. We will weigh opportunities, if there are any. We haven’t reached any decision stage yet,” Sun TV Network chief executive officer Ajay Vidyasagar said.

Sun TV Network, a dominant player in the southern region, is, however, clear that it wouldn’t expand into the Hindi TV broadcasting space. Unlike Hindi, regional language entertainment channels will not require huge capital investments, high programming and marketing costs and long gestation periods before turning profitable.

So will Sun look at entering into a joint venture with Network18 Group for the Marathi and Bengali languages? “The space is already crowded and it would, perhaps, be better if there are joint ventures. But as both are going to be new players, a joint venture between them doesn’t throw up any advantage,” said a media analyst.

Sun and Network18 have a joint venture, Sun18, in the television distribution business.

Why is Sun evaluating an entry into these markets? “New broadcasters could be sinking in losses immediately. But in the next five years, a presence in regional language broadcasting will be an advantage. Television
is seeing a lot of fragmentation. The regional markets will see explosive growth in the future,” says a senior executive of a broadcasting company.

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