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Star ups the ante in Tamil market with male-focused GEC Vijay Super

MUMBAI: Star India has soft-launched a second general entertainment channel (GEC) for Tamil Nadu. Named Vijay Super, it is being positioned as a male-focused channel.

Vijay Super will be the first entertainment channel in the country that will target males as its core audience group. GECs across languages are traditionally skewed towards females.

Vijay-SuperThe channel, which will have a mix of soaps, movies and sports content, is currently available in test mode. Star had received the licence to launch Vijay Super in March.

Direct-to-home (DTH) operator Tata Sky will add the channel to its platform on 25 August. On the cable side, the distribution of the channel is getting sorted.

“We are launching a second GEC Vijay Super which is positioned for males. This will be the first-of-its-kind channel in the country. It will air the Tamil Nadu Premier League,” said a source.

Tamil Nadu is an unusual market, with the state government-owned Arasu Cable TV Corporation virtually controlling the TV distribution market. Arasu has a base of 70.52 lakh (7.05 million) through 26,246 local cable operators (LCOs).

The platform is crucial for any broadcaster to get maximum reach in that market. Tamil Nadu is one of the few states along with undivided Andhra Pradesh to have the maximum C&S penetration in the country.

Vijay Super is one of the official broadcasters of the Tamil Nadu Premier League, which kicked off on 24 August. Apart from Vijay Super, the league is also airing on Star Sports 1 and Star Sports HD 1.

The GEC has been priced at Rs 5.25 on reference interconnect offer (RIO) basis. As part of the promotional offer, the broadcaster will not charge any subscription fee for the channel until 31 July 2017.

Star already operates Star Vijay, a Tamil GEC which it had acquired from Ronnie Screwvala’s UTV Communications. Star Vijay was placed at the fourth position below Sun TV, KTV and Zee Tamil, as per BARC ratings for the week ended 12 August. It had launched a high-definition (HD) version of Star Vijay called Vijay HD in May.

Apart from the distribution challenge, Tamil is the only market where national broadcasters have not been able to break the monopoly of the regional players.

The Tamil market is a stronghold of Kalanithi Maran’s Sun TV. So strong is the Sun TV brand in the state that it leads its nearest competitors by a mammoth margin. In fact, Sun TV’s monopoly in the Tamil market has helped it attain the No. 1 ranking on an all-India level week after week.

According to FICCI KPMG 2016 report, Tamil channels occupy the biggest share among the regional markets with 25.7% in viewership.

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