Mumbai: Even in as cyclical a business as television, Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd (MSM), which runs Sony’s Indian channels, has staged an unexpected comeback this year. It’s Hindi general entertainment channel has become No. 2 in a competitive category that also happens to be the most lucrative, largely on the back of the success of its game show Kaun Banega Crorepati (the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and the show that revived Star Plus’ fortunes in 2000). And its Hindi and English movie channels continue to do well. In an interview, MSM CEO Man Jit Singh said the firm is “in a much stronger position” than it has ever been. The company, he says, is also looking to expand its offerings. It’s music channel, Mix, launches on 1 September. The firm will eventually launch a “premier” sports channel (the network has the TV rights for the Indian Premier League) and is also looking for regional channels it can buy (Singh did not comment on rumours of Eenadu’s acquisition by his firm).
R. Gowthaman, leader, Mindshare, GroupM India, added Sony’s strategy of using KBC as a tent pole property—one that holds up the rest of its programming by attracting viewers and getting them to stay on for other shows—seems to be working.
Ankit Kedia, analyst, Centrum Broking, says moving to No. 2 is a smart turnaround for Sony. “By launching a music channel and getting into the regional space, it is building itself as a powerful network. Apart from bringing in additional advertising revenue, it’ll also help in the distribution space, especially if it’s seeking new alliances,” he said.