Tuesday, January 19, 2016

TV1 launches Jan 21st

Maharaja's newest channel launches on Jan 21st at 5:04pm. Yet another iteration MTV, which has undergone quite a few in it's lifetime. TV1 is supposed to a English/Sinhala hybrid channel which is to be available on pay networks & fta via UHF.

The programming on this channel is not clear as yet however as per yesterday's press conference, this isn't going to a strictly youth oriented channel. At present MTV is in disarray with programming without any sense of direction.

Rumours suggest that this channel is to target the viewership of Hiru TV by making it more contemporary. 

The fate of MTV indicates clearly the plight of English TV channels in Sri Lanka which are struggling to survive the cable tv onslaught. If a English channel is to survive, they should either carry current programming or none at all.

Only Art TV which steers clear of pay service providers telecasting CNN is barely holding on. The fate of ETV is still unclear. Which by the way begs the question, what exactly is ETV telecasting? Please let us know people. This latest iteration TV1 kicks off Jan 21st just might survive due to  it's hybrid nature.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Reduce Tax on Pay Television Subscribers

Recently a news report on a local radio station said that the government is calling for proposals from the general public & private sector for proposals for the 2016 budget. Here is our proposal as per the industry we are involved in - Reduce the Tax on Pay Television Subscribers.

At present pay television subscribers pay a whopping 27.55% in taxes. This is killing the industry not to mention the subscriber. Pay companies must band together & demand the reduction of these taxes.

The pay tv market in Sri Lanka is being held by taxation policies such as these & this should be reduced with immediate effect. We believe the reduction of the taxes will help the industry to flourish.

Friday, July 03, 2015

The Curious Case of MTV Sports

Well a couple of days ago, MTV Sports suddenly reverted back to the original MTV logo that they used in days gone by. The Sports part was dropped, on-screen graphics were changed to reflect this change. The channel which touted itself as a sports channel after CSN launched a few year ago, was more of a GEC than a sports channel. 

They were really never successful at acquiring sports content, in fact CSN had better sports content than MTV Sports. A run of the mill retransmission deal with Neo Sports resulted in a few Golf & Football content, non of which was "LIVE". The channel of course showcased the Olympic events together with it's sister channels, they of course telecast more less the same content that a few other channels broadcast "live".

With many sports content up for grabs like "Formula 1", etc the channel never really was interested in these. The final nail in the coffin maybe the failure to acquire the cricketing rights that was up for bidding.

It's interesting however that the channels, Facebook page & Website have not been updated & continue with the old "MTV Sports" logo. It's quite clear that internal communication is virtually non existent at the channel & looks like the administrators do not watch the channel & this has been a decision taken hurriedly.

It could also be that the channel is on it's way to be rebranded again maybe as a news channel which has been rumoured for sometime. Anyway only time will tell what the actual plans behind this channel are.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

CSN to close March 1st

According to reports being received, Carlton Sports Network (CSN) is to shutdown from 1st March. Accordingly employees have been sent on leave & many are being compensated for the loss. Claiming to be a sports dedicated channel this channel however devoted much of its time to non sports related programming as well.

The channel has a redistribution agreement with Setanta Sports for the "LIVE" broadcast of rugby & has also used the transmitters of ITN to carry out it's activities. It should be stated that they used the license held by ITN to carry out their operations, since they commenced operations with the closure of Prime TV. With the channel closing down, we are not certain whether the operations will be taken over by another party. Prime TV may or may not return since that channel too was a failure.

We hope that the Setanta deal will be worked with another party, probably MTV Sports. CSN was on the verge of telecasting the ICC World Cup using rights stripped from SLRC which thankfully ended up back in SLRC's hands.

Even though it's sad to see a channel go, however the unethical practices of this channel were bound to return & bite them, one day or the other.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The demise of NTV

A few ago we witnessed the birth of a brand new channel called NTV. The channel had pathetic coverage and even more pathetic was it's content. Mainly consisting of repeats of popular TV shows, this channel was doomed from the start. Apart from a few shows the only watchable content was some classical songs that they played from time to time.

The idea behind the channel was good but the execution was a mess. The channel had no chance in the face of competition from Pay TV services and local FTA English channels.

It's actually good to have a state operated English language, but the next time this is tried out maybe more locally produced English content is the way to go.

NTV had potential but no vision. R.I.P NTV!

Friday, February 06, 2015

All about the World Cup, or is it?

Three years after the entire fiasco regarding the awarding of Cricket rights was played out, SLRC has been thrust forward as the official broadcaster of all things cricket involving Sri Lanka. CSN which was unceremoniously stripped of the rights over non payment of dues to ESPN Star Sports and has now been relegated to a sports channel that only has sports as part of their branding.

This was bound to happen, the high handed tactics used to obtain the same rights has now been used against them. It's sad though as the only television channel brave enough to dwell into the sports genre & did show a spark of promise only fall victim to changing political culture.

It's arguable whether it is correct to specifically target a channel with taxes designed for it. However we should remind ourselves that CSN didn't play fair too.

The future for CSN seems bleak, the channel may rebrand itself or may sell out.  Then there remains the question on the legality of the CSN transmitters.

The good news is that SLRC with it's superior coverage will be telecasting the World Cup & it seems that in the future private broadcasters will be able to bid for major sporting events. This move was expected too since, if we could call the previous regime's pet "CSN", then the present one's pet is most likely the Maharaja trio of "Sirasa TV, Shakthi TV & MTV Sports".

One thing is certain, this is more political poker than a fight for World Cup rights!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Star Movies India pulls out

After a few years in Sri Lanka, Star Movies India which replaced Star Movies Asia will be pulled out from Sri Lanka tomorrow. Star Movies India which is the only version of Star Movies operated by Star India, all others are operated by Fox International Channels was introduced due to a regionalization drive undertaken by Fox International. Star Movies Asia was rebranded Fox Movies Premium.

Now due to this move Sri Lankan movie fans are left without access to the movies that are distributed for broadcast by studios to Star Movies India & which is also released to Fox Movies Premium in the rest of Asia. The only access we have is access to movies released to HBO Asia which has faithfully stood by this region.

Due to this move a surge in movie piracy is expected. It's sad to note that a multinational like Fox would make moves that result in the increase of piracy.

Fox International should take immediate steps to release Fox Movies Premium to Sri Lanka since Star India is no longer interested in the Sri Lankan market. It should be noted that Fox Movies Premium is available in Maldives which also has access to the entire stable of channels operated by Fox in Asia. Sri Lanka should be included in the Asian feed for all Fox distributed channels and Indian feeds of Star should be halted.

Literally Star India should be kicked out of Sri Lanka.