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Sun TV charts growth plans for North
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Sun TV is making inroads into the northern market and its chief operating officer (COO) Ajay Vidyasagar feels the impact will be felt in the Q2 of 2010.

Recently, the South-based television group entered into a strategic distribution partnership with Network 18 to expand subscription in the northern market and tap the Rs 16,000 crore Indian pay TV segment.

As per the tie up, distribution business will be carried out by the two newly formed companies including Sun18 Media Services Company North. It will be operated by Network 18 and Sun 18 Media Services Company South and managed by Sun Network.

Though the tie-up is aimed at increasing the viewership volume, the average revenue per user (ARPU) could not be predicted to grow in line with volumes, he said.

"The tie up with Network 18 is a medium to long term strategy to expand network coverage in the country. The 35-40 channel bouquet availability across all platforms like DTH, IPTV and cable has the highest audience viewership. Arpu assumes a complex connotation in the context of Indian television business, catering to the non-homogenous, culturally and linguistically diverse markets," he said.

The revenue from distribution is up 44% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2010 with DTH alone logging 84% growth, he pointed out. In the southern market, Sun Network dominates the top 3 rankings in viewership with Sun TV on the top at 34% followed by KTV at 12% and Kids channel Aditya at 7%, Vidyasagar said.

The Sun TV group is on course of consolidating its new channels like Kids and Comedy with launch of new programme formats, he added.

While speaking on the radio business, he said, revenue from radio contributes roughly 4% to the overall top line and the recent recast of the business will help in greater revenue inflow from the segment. Commenting on the 'not so good' performance of the movie release business of Sun Pictures, he said, unlike the television business where the group enjoys 75% to 80% gain on margins, the movie distribution business is a different ballgame of thin margin possibility at 12-15%, he said.
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