MUMBAI: Writemen Media, which is best known for its Kannada news channel Public TV, is taking the plunge in movie genre with Public Movies.
The Kannada movie channel, which will debut on 12 February, will feature Kannada as well as South Indian films dubbed in Kannada.
This will be the third channel from the company after Public TV and Public Music, a Kannada music channel that launched in September 2014.
Also on the anvil is a Kannada comedy entertainment channel Public Comedy, which is slated to launch towards the end of the year. The company got the licence to launch Public Comedy in May 2017.
The Kannada TV ad market is pegged at Rs 700-800 crore with a viewership share of 10-12% of the overall TV universe.
South Indian states have a penchant for movie content. According to a BARC report, 12% content on Kannada GECs comprises of movies. However, the demand for movie content on TV is far less in Kannada compared to Tamil and Telugu.
Currently, there are two Kannada movie channels Sun TV Network’s Udaya Movies and Star India’s Star Suvarna Plus. Thus, Public Movies will up against two heavyweights whose parent companies have deep pockets to acquire latest blockbuster movies.
Writemen Media COO CK Harish Kumar was not available for comments until the time of filing this report.
Talking about the challenges for the new channel, GroupM-owned Essence India MD Anand Chakravarthy said that the key challenge for a movie channel is that there is not enough movie content available in the market, unlike Tamil and Telugu.
“As the Kannada industry grows and more films are made then the opportunity for such channels will grow. The scope to grow also depends on the quality of movies that are made and how successful they are. For a TV channel to succeed there should be enough of people to watch that content. But today, even when Kannada films are released there aren’t many audiences in theatre which means the popularity is not as high,” said Chakravarthy.
Chakravarthy also noted that the Kannada market also has a strong appetite for Tamil and Telugu movies dubbed in Kannada. “Telugu and Tamil films dubbed in Kannada are definitely working. I think across the board the Telugu and Tamil films dubbed in Hindi are also working. Also in Karnataka, there is a second and third generation of people who live and understand Kannada but are originally from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh,” he added.