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Tamil Nadu's media war takes one more step with Sun DTH

Chennai, Sep 21 (IANS) The Sun Media Group -- owners of the Sun television channels, Sumangali Cable Vision (SCV) and seven FM radio stations -- Friday launched its direct to home (DTH) service, Sun DTH, here at a price of Rs.75 per month.

2007-09-21T18:52:00Z

Chennai, Sep 21 (IANS) The Sun Media Group -- owners of the Sun television channels, Sumangali Cable Vision (SCV) and seven FM radio stations -- Friday launched its direct to home (DTH) service, Sun DTH, here at a price of Rs.75 per month.

The Sun Group belongs to brothers Kalanidhi and Dayanidhi Maran and SCV -- which controls major parts of the cable business in Chennai -- is owned and controlled by Kal Cables Pvt Ltd, an affiliated company.

Soon after a spat with the Marans in May, when their newspaper in Madurai Dinakaran was attacked and three employees burnt to death by supporters of Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi's son M.K. Azhagiri, the ruling DMK dissociated from the Sun group, which was the party's main propaganda outlet for two decades.

In mid August this year, the Tamil Nadu government set up a cable television corporation, saying it would help the government generate Rs.5 billion revenue annually. However, it had opposed a similar move by the erstwhile Jayalalitha government.

On Friday, the Sun Group said it would provide 75 satellite channels on its DTH platform. Twenty Sun network channels in four regional languages will be included, as well as its seven FM stations.

Subscribers will be provided the required antenna dish and the modem. 'Break free from the hassles of cable TV', the company said, despite being the biggest cable TV distributor in the state.

Hundreds of small cable operators in Madurai protested the Sun DTH offer. Reports from the temple town said that the cables laid by Sumangali Cable Vision were cut at more than 200 places.

The 50,000 strong cable TV operators in Tamil Nadu are now planning a major protest before the Sun Group's offices across the state on Sep 24. They have also asked the government to slap a luxury tax on Sun Group's DTH equipment.

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