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  India's first digital archives of feature films set up in Goa
Posted by: Sathish - 02-28-2009, 11:19 AM - Forum: Entertainment - No Replies

Panaji (PTI): India's first ever digital archives of feature films and documentaries from across the globe has been set up in Goa.

Around 130 films spanning across Marathi, Portuguese, Hindi, English, Konkani, Assamese, Bengali, French and Italian languages are stocked on the server, are available at a click of a button.

The Goa-Government run Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) has put in place this unique project which runs on the server developed by National Informatic Centre (NIC).

"We can store around 10,000 films," Manoj Srivastava, Chief Executive Officer, ESG, told PTI.

"The project is based on Digital Asset Management (DAM) technology, which is normally used by television channels abroad to built their library," the CEO said.

It also comprises of old classics like Sant Tukaram and Shejari, which are donated to ESG by its well wishers. "Owner of Prabhat Talkies, Damale family, has given us nine films free of cost with archival and screening rights," Srivastava said.

The archives will be open for all, he said. In addition, Portuguese consulate has donated a bouquet of 20 films.

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  MTNL to launch 3G in Mumbai by April
Posted by: Sathish - 02-28-2009, 11:18 AM - Forum: Cellular Services - No Replies

State-owned telecom service provider Maharashtra Telephone Nigam (MTNL) will launch its 3G services in Mumbai by early April, overshooting its earlier intentions of launching services by February-end. MTNL had launched 3G services in the capital in December 2008.

According to sources close to the development, the company has completed its beta testing (trial runs) successfully and is ready for the commercial rollout of the services. MTNL is looking at an early April date for the launch.

MTNL has already set up 720 base transceiver stations (BTS) for its 3G rollout in the Mumbai circle.

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  BSNL launches 3G services in 11 cities
Posted by: Sathish - 02-28-2009, 11:16 AM - Forum: Cellular Services - No Replies

DELHI: Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), said on Friday it had launched third-generation (3G) services in 11 cities and planned to expand
Smartphones services to other areas in the country.

BSNL said in a statement it had invested Rs 2,700 crore ($530 million) on rolling out 3G infrastructure and would cover all district headquarters and important commercial towns.

India will hold an auction of 3G spectrum later this year, but state-run firms have already been given one slot in each service area, and will have to match the highest bid from private operators.

Third-generation services give users a chance to enjoy fast Internet access, games and a host of multimedia content from maps to music on their cellphones.

BSNL provides telecoms services across the country except in the major cities of New Delhi and Mumbai, which are covered by another state-run firm, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam.

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  Chiru family to launch TV news channel
Posted by: Sathish - 02-28-2009, 11:14 AM - Forum: Television News - No Replies

HYDERABAD: Claiming that the media is not giving due coverage to Prajarajyam president Chiranjeevi, the star-turned-politician’s family has decided to launch their own Telugu news channel. Final touches are being given to the ‘Maa News’ channel and it will start beaming by Ugadi, sources in the party said.

The Chiranjeevi family already has a minority stake in ‘Maa TV’, and the news channel of the same name will be completely owned and run by the megastar’s family. The licence for the news channel was secured almost a year ago and the owners of ‘Maa TV’ have no objection in leasing it to the Chiru family, the sources said. The new channel will operate from the ‘Maa TV’ building in Panjagutta. According to the sources, Chiranjeevi was prompted to launch a news channel after realising that the existing local channels are not giving adequate coverage to his political campaigns and roadshows across the state. ETV is identified with the TDP. And chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy has got his son Jaganmohan Reddy running the ‘Sakshi TV’ channel and the multi-edition daily newspaper ‘Sakshi’. When it comes to Prajarajyam, the news channels are limiting themselves to showing few second clips of Chiranjeevi and Pavan Kalyan. Therefore, we have decided to start a news channel which will project Chiranjeevi as the protagonist of change and social justice, party sources said.

Party sources said a team of people are working on the project and that it will be ready in a fortnight’s time. Either P Mitra or P Prabhakar will be made in-charge of the channel, the sources said, adding that the channel will project the ideology of the PRP and promote the party as the only alternative to the ruling Congress party.

Another grouse of the Prajarajyam loyalists is that the local media gave extensive coverage to Chiranjeevi when he entered the political field. “But after that, the coverage has been focused on internal bickering in the district committees, organizational deficiencies and other minor lapses thanon the message of the leader. Thus, even as the election bugle is close to being sounded, Chiranjeevi will not be far behind in the media coverage,” one PRP leader said.

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  Post Oscar, Rahman lands 3 Hollywood offers
Posted by: Sathish - 02-28-2009, 11:13 AM - Forum: Entertainment - No Replies

CHENNAI: While speculation is strife about the benefit that A R Rahman’s win in the Oscars is likely to bring to Indian entertainment and sound industries, the music icon who has grown larger than life into a maestro, has landed himself 3 offers from Hollywood.

“Yeah, I have received 2-3 offers,” he said in his trademark matter-of-fact tone, albeit with an added touch of euphoria. “Due to the confidentiality in the agreements, I cannot talk about them any further,” he said. He was addressing the media in Chennai on Thursday in a mood of jubiliance, having slept barely seven hours after his arrival from Los Angeles at 3.

The air in the hall cackled with almost as much energy as his Oscar winning song releases. “Jai Ho! Embodies the release of an extra-ordinary energy,” he said. “The music enhanced the film, like the jewel on a beautiful ornament. And it, somehow, also appealed to a western sensibility.”

The musician, who did Tamil proud by addressing a few words in his mother tongue to the audience at the Kodak theatre on Sunday, admitted that despite having forayed into different styles of music, composing for Tamil songs, having grown up with the language. But, that didn’t stop him from taking wild risks at the international stage.

“Less than one tenth of the budget of Slumdog Millionaire was allocated for its music. If I had shied away from it, I would have missed all this,” he said.

He recalled the moment nearly two decades ago, when he stood under the spotlight receiving a national award for his debut with Roja, directed by Maniratnam. “I had only as much expectation for this award as I had for that one!” he said. “Well, after the Golden Globe and Bafta, I had some 5% more expectation.”

Today, he is all set to source young talent from India, and the rest Asia, and project them in the international arena; to heights as dizzying as the one he has achieved. “That was the whole point of starting the KM music conservatory,” he said. “Also, every celebrity in Hollywood is keen on collaborating with the Indian cine-industry today.”

His answer to the school of though that criticizes SM for projecting India with a colonial mindset in the global arena: “As an artist, I saw the movie depicting the success of an underdog, after much struggle. But, I suppose other people could feel differently about the movie, and they are entitled to feel so.”

“The international spotlight is on Dharavi now. I think those kids will now be properly provided for, with contributions coming in from all over the world. Some of them have already been assured education and proper living up to the age of 16.”

“If the same movie had been shot by an Indian director, would it have won the Oscars?” a question came whizzing in.

Rahman answered, “Yes, provided the director gets hold of an international distributor, with whom the movie can be sold effectively worldwide.”

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  PepsiCo ties up with Mumbai Indians for IPL
Posted by: Sathish - 02-28-2009, 11:11 AM - Forum: Sports Zone - No Replies

NEW DELHI: Soft drink major PepsiCo today said it has bagged the sponsorship rights for Mumbai Indians for the upcoming IPL season.

"Under the partnership, PepsiCo would have the exclusive pouring rights at home matches, besides being the official beverage provider for the Mumbai Indians, one of the eight teams of IPL," PepsiCo said in a statement.

The company said it has also got exclusive branding rights on the uniforms of the player, besides in-stadia visibility and activation rights.

PepsiCo India Executive Vice President-Marketing Sandeep Singh Arora said, "We are thrilled to announce Pepsi's association with the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League 2009. This partnership also brings with it a unique platform for Pepsi to engage with millions of cricket fans in Maharashtra and across the country."

With this tie-up, the company is gearing up for communication programmes comprising mass media, in-stadia and in-market activation and online platforms.

Commenting on the partnership, a spokesperson of the Mumbai Indians said, "Reflecting Mumbai's diversity, spirit and resilience, the Mumbai Indians are gearing for a power- packed performance in the second edition. We are very excited to partner Pepsi as our associate sponsor and pouring partner in IPL 2009."

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  Videocon to launch DTH services in April 2009
Posted by: Sathish - 02-28-2009, 11:10 AM - Forum: Videocon D2H - Replies (1)

NEW DELHI: Consumer durable maker Videocon plans to launch its direct-to-home (DTH) television services venture in April 2009 against its original target of September 2008, said a top Videocon executive. As of now five companies are offering DTH services in the country including Dish TV, Tata Sky, Airtel, Big TV and Sun TV.

Videocon Industries, the flagship group company of the Dhoot family, would be launching the DTH service through its subsidiary Bharat Business. The firm had earlier announced that it would make an initial investment of about Rs 1,000 crore in the venture.

When contacted by ET, Videocon Industries’ director Saurabh Dhoot who is heading the venture confirmed that the company will be launching its DTH services in April.

With the entry of the sixth firm offering DTH services, consumers are likely to see lower prices. Already, the price war between the five existing players has significantly brought down the combined price of hardware and subscription to television channels.

Another senior executive with the company added that the firm is looking to integrate the set-top-box with new television sets as a fresh offering to the consumer. A set-top-box is a hardware which is required to receive content on the television.

From just 3-4 million subscriber base in 2007, the DTH industry has grown to an estimated 10 million subscribers as of December 2008. As per estimates of consultancy firm Ernst & Young, the DTH subscriber base could touch 19 million in the next 2-3 years.

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  Bindass launches "I Change. India Changes" movement
Posted by: Sathish - 02-28-2009, 11:08 AM - Forum: Television News - No Replies

UTV Bindass, the youth entertainment channel from the UTV Network, has launched "I Change. India Changes" movement, which aims to reach out to the youth and take up issues concerning the young in India. UTV roped in John Abraham to associate with the cause.

The first initiative under this movement is called "Ungli Utha Bindass", which aims to promote awareness among the youth about how their vote can make a difference. The campaign is supported by a multimedia campaign and has been conceptualised by a team at UTV Bindass along with Grey India.

Zarina Mehta, CEO, Bindass, says, "The youth feel there is a very strong need for a change, however it's always easy to blame the system and not take responsibility. Under this initiative we are, for the first time, urging the youth to be participative in the change they want to see and providing them a platform to express themselves on issues that affect them the most."

Zarina continues, " With the elections around the corner 'Voting' was an obvious choice under the movement I Change – India Changes. After voting we would continue to identify issues that affect the youth and create platforms for their opinions and action."

The reason behind the move is simple to understand as 30 per cent of the total voting population is within the age group of 18-30 years, and only 25 per cent of this population are registered as Voters. Out of this base, only 50 per cent vote, which means that voting is restricted to only 12.5 per cent of the youth population base.

Since the youth is very active on the digital medium, a website has been created (www.bindass.tv/ichange) to provide a platform to voice opinions. The website also provides relevant information regarding the elections, such as Know Your Neta, wherein profiles of politicians are uploaded. There are interactive sections, such as videos, as well.

Ungli Utha Bindass has been executed in a cheeky and a fun way. The channel wanted to showcase that the finger stands for voting and that voters can point their finger at the politicians, if they do not fulfil the promises they made before the elections.

A massive below the line (BTL) activity has also been chalked out to increase awareness called Natak Kar, Desh Badal (Bindass Campus Theatre). The channel will invite 70 colleges across six Indian cities to present street plays on the theme of voting.

Teams from each city would be judged by a panel of celebrities, social activists and theatre personalities. One finalist from each city will be selected, and the winning performance will be recorded on a DVD and shown to the Prime Minister.

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  Supreme Court asks broadcasters, Trai to settle on cable tariff
Posted by: Sathish - 02-28-2009, 11:07 AM - Forum: Cable TV and FM Radio Services - No Replies

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has asked broadcasters and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to come out with an interim tariff arrangement for cable TV services.

The bench, headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan, also asked both the parties to maintain status quo till next Friday, 6 March.

The apex court was hearing the case relating to the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal's (Tdsat) rejection of Trai's proposal to put a ceiling on cable TV service charges across the country.

Additionally, the SC has asked broadcasters to file a reply affidavit by next Friday.

The bench said, “All broadcasters should come out with some understanding on the tariff till Trai completes its study to reframe a new tariff order within 4-6 months.”

During the course of argument, the counsel for broadcasters urged that the Tdsat had earlier set aside Trai’s cable TV pricing dated 4 October, 2007 on the ground that the regulator had violated principles of transparency in addition to various other reasons and had further asked the regulator to study the matter for six months to come out with new tariff.

The counsel for Trai, however, argued that the tariff order provides protection to about 80 million households in a very transparent and reasonable manner by specifying ceilings on the monthly cable TV charges.

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  Zee Telugu bets on mega movies
Posted by: Sathish - 02-28-2009, 11:05 AM - Forum: Television News - No Replies

MUMBAI: Zee Telugu is giving its filmed entertainment content the first big push. The channel, which achieved a break-even status in the second quarter of this fiscal, has lapped up 24 big movies for an undisclosed amount.

In a TV-viewing market which is high on movies, Zee's aggressive move is directed at spiking up ratings. A steep rise in film acquisition costs has not justified advertising revenues and even Sun Network's Gemini, which leads the pack of Telugu GECs, has kept away from such bids.

"This is the first time we have invested into a bulk of movies. We have taken perpetual rights (all rights for 99 years) for almost the whole lot. And for the few others, we have acquired 12-25 years unlimited telecast rights. It will help boost our reach and ratings,” says Zee Telugu CEO Sanjay Reddy.

The roster includes Kotha Bangaru Lokam, Paandurangadu, Vinayakudu, Krishna, Ashta Chamma, Gorintaku, Bhadradri, Ready, Krishnarjuna, Nenu Meeku Thelusa, Okka Magadu, Bujji Gadu, Ontari, Navavasantham, Sasirekha Parinayam, Swagatham, Bhale Dongalu, Victory, Kantri, Surya S/o Krishnan, Sidhu from Sikakulam, Tulasi, Avakai Biryani and Maisamma IPS.

Zee Telugu , which has seen an upsurge in ratings with mainly its non-fiction programming such as Saregamapa, was weak on movie content as compared to its competiting networks.

The price for the satellite TV rights of a Telugu blockbuster movie is as high as Rs 40 million, making revenue realisation on such content really tough. Zee amortises the movie cost over a period of five years.

"In this market where costs have gone up, movies are not acquired with the pure RoI (return on investment) motive. We use them for tactical reasons and for driving audiences into our fiction and non-fiction properties," admits Reddy.

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