Shamni Pande

Balaji Telefilms looks to consolidate presence on SUN Network

Soap queen Ekta Kapoor is making a determined bid to enter south Indian homes with a slew of productions lined up by her company Balaji Telefilms

Soap queen Ekta Kapoor is not content with her productions being a permanent fixture on television screens in northern Indian homes. Now, she is making a determined bid to make her presence felt in southern homes with a slew of productions lined up by her company Balaji Telefilms. She knows there is one vehicle that can make her dreams come true: The SUN Network.

It is not as if Balaji Telefilms is an unknown entity down south. But it is also a fact that the exposure of her production house has thus far been limited to a large extent to Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka via SUN Network's Gemini and Udaya TV channels. "We have worked with SUN TV in Tamil Nadu before. But after our earlier project ended there, we began focusing on other markets. We are looking forward to working with SUN once again in that state," says V Umanath, manager, marketing (south), Balaji Telefilms.

After its first stint on SUN, the production house worked with rival STAR Vijay when it produced Kavyanjali, which was the top rated programme for the channel at one point in time. Now it is looking to consolidate its presence with SUN Network across markets. "There are other players here, such Balachandar's Minbinbamgal, AVM, UTV and Radaan. But none of them are really investing and exposing themselves to the kind of commitment we are working on. In terms of investment, we pay around Rs 30 lakh per week to the channel, which works to around Rs 1.2 crore worth of exposure for us per month. This means we take the responsibility of marketing the programmes ourselves," he said.

While this mode of operation - where the production house works with the channel on a fee basis and markets its product - is fairly routine for SUN TV, not many production houses want to take the risk of marketing a serial. For such channels, SUN has an optional deal, wherein the responsibility of marketing rests with the network.

Given its impeccable track record, Balaji obviously thinks marketing its own soaps will not be such a tough job after all. Alongside Balaji has released a handful of new programmes on other SUN Network channels. Earlier this month, it launched a daily soap on Udaya TV in the 7.00-7.30 pm slot called KumKuma Bhagya. Prior to that it had launched Kante Kuthrune Kanali, a daily soap, which had replaced the most popular daily soap on Gemini - Pavithrabandam, which run 700 episode - in the 9.30-10.00 pm slot.

"Most of our serials are originals in their respective language. The basic reason for this is the cultural diversity in our country and we feel not many would lend themselves to the crossover. However, at times we do exchange story ideas among our southern branches," says Umanath. Some of Balaji's daily soaps currently running on Udaya are Kavaludaari, KhshanaaKhshanaa, Kannadi, KumKuma Bhagya and Kapi Chestae. © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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