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Saregama tunes in to southern markets

May 29, 2003 19:32 IST

Saregama Television, a division of Rs 90 crore  (Rs 900 million) Saregama India, is targeting a revenue of Rs 9 crore for the current fiscal as against a Rs 3.5 crore (Rs 35 million)  turnover posted for the last fiscal.

To achieve this, the nine-month-old division is planning to venture into daily soaps, talk shows, non fiction films and telefilms.

"We are also planning to launch more serials for the south Indian television viewers by foraying into Telugu and Malayalam," Abhik Mitra, the managing director of Saregama India, said at the launch of socio-mythological Telugu serial Namo Venkatesa.

The new serial will be telecast on Gemini Television every Sunday morning, beginning from June 8.

Saregama is currently running two successful Tamil serials, Velan and Soolam, both with socio-mythology themes on Sun TV for the past two years.

The company owns the largest music catalogue in the country with one-third of its music business coming each from regional albums, Hindi old and new catalogues.

"There is a huge decline in the music business for the last two years because of a steep rise in the cost of content and rampant piracy levels, which were never witnessed ever since digital format has replaced analogue mode," Mitra said.

Spread of FM radio has also added to the woes. A good musical bonanza like Sathiya could sell just a million cassettes which otherwise would have sold over three to four million pieces, he illustrated the scenario.

"A good sign of late, is that costs started coming down, in Tamil in the past one year and in Hindi for the past few months.

"We are expecting a major revival in the current year and our turnover will cross Rs 100 crore  (Rs 1 billion) this year," Mitra said. The company posted Rs 90 crore revenue in the last fiscal.

Explaining the highlights of Namo Venkatesa, B R Vijaya Lakshmi, the creative director of the company, said that it would be a 52 episodes serial with Vietnam Veedu Sundaram providing the script and Johnson scoring music for them.

"We are also cutting a music album for the serial with eight songs," she added. The serial features film stars like Sarath Babu, Ravali, Kantha Rao, Kota Sankar Rao, Jyothi Lakshmi and Padmanabham.

BS Regional Bureau in Hyderabad