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Southern India M&E space poised for leapfrog

BestMediaInfo brings highlights of the FICCI-Deloitte study covering TV, print, radio and new media in the southern markets

Southern India M&E space poised for leapfrog

BestMediaInfo brings highlights of the FICCI-Deloitte study covering TV, print, radio and new media in the southern markets

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | December 8, 2011

At the recently concluded 3rd edition of “Media and Entertainment Business Conclave” on December 1-2, 2011, held in Chennai, with ‘reinventing the industry’ as the overall theme, FICCI, in association with Deloitte, unveiled a detailed study on the South Indian Media & Entertainment Industry in 2011. Best Media Info brings the highlights of the study on different media vehicles.

Notwithstanding our unity in diversity, the south of the Vindhayas—especially the four southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala — has maintained a distinct socio-cultural identity in the Indian milieu. This is evident through several aspects such as traditional values still serving as an anchor to the behaviour and choices made by people, the literacy rate in the South being higher than the national average.

In FY 2011, the overall media and entertainment market of South India is estimated at Rs 18,740 crore. On the back of sustained demand and evolving content across different media platforms, this market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 14 per cent over the next four years and is expected to cross Rs 32,140 crore by 2015.

Television is the most popular media platform in the South valued at Rs 10,630 crore and accounts for 57 per cent of the overall market. It is projected to grow at a healthy CAGR of 17 per cent and could potentially reach Rs 19,810 crore by 2015.

Traditionally, films have always held a special place in the hearts and minds of the people in the South. Superstars like Rajnikanth have a cult fan following not just in South India, but in several pockets all over the world. The print industry is buoyed by the high demand for vernacular publications and print is the second most popular medium accounting for almost 30 per cent market share. It is currently valued at Rs 5,680 crore and projected to grow at a CAGR 11 per cent during 2011-15.


The next few years would be both exciting and challenging for an industry that clearly does not want to be left behind in the digitisation curve. Adoption of digitisation in production should accelerate as the initial teething troubles are overcome and the learning curve involved is successfully negotiated. The involvement of corporate production houses known for their discipline, cost-effective production and availability of buyers for films is likely to bring in best in class standards in the south market. Emerging revenue streams from mobile and Internet based film content would open new areas for growth both in the domestic and the overseas front. Content owners can further de-risk their business model by unbundling new media rights and collaborating with distribution platforms. Consumers are more likely to pay for the content due to its ubiquity.

Domestic theatrical system that has always been the strength of the South needs a facelift as the focus shifts to superior viewing experiences across exhibition points. A co-existence of multiplexes and single screens that can offer consumers an enjoyable experience at the right price points is the key.


The television industry in southern India is on a transformational path. It is one of the most flourishing regional media in terms of availability of content, reach and distribution. In the last five years, it has witnessed increased action from a blend of regional and national players in the broadcasting space. Further, in what could be seen as a positive development towards growth of the industry, breaking away from the GEC umbrella, genres have evolved, largely in Tamil and Telugu. Also, riding on the strength of its purchasing power and population base, the South is a profitable proposition for advertisers as well.

As the industry continues to grow, it would see the evolution of certain critical themes stated below:

• DTH is leading the race for digitalisation of the distribution system. The government’s announcement on the sunset date of analogue transmission, coupled with the right set of incentives and regulation, will have the potential to change the distribution landscape. However, it would be interesting to observe how the South continues to maintain its dominant position in distribution, which to a large extent is also a function of regional dynamics.

• GEC channels in the region have been one of the earliest in the vernacular space to appreciate content focused beyond fiction and films. While it would be an easier proposition to ride on the success of the ‘safe bet’ genres, GECs in the South inspired by national as well as international programming formats should continue to explore opportunities ahead.

• The position of niche genres in southern languages still largely revolves around movies and music (kids programmes to a limited extent). The evolution of other niche spaces and their sustainability could be an interesting trend to look out for.

• TV and films have both been strong mediums in the South owing to the availability of quality vernacular content. Amongst the host of regional languages in the country, Tamil and Telugu are being reckoned next only to Bollywood in their overseas potential, largely driven by their large presence abroad. Monetisation of content through new opportunities in existing platforms and reaching viewers through new media platforms are going to be the focus areas for broadcasters from the South.

Finally, it is critical for the South Indian television eco-system to continue to tap technology led opportunities to increase the viewership experience of their consumers (such as HD) as well as increase their own efficiencies (content repurposing) to stay ahead of the competition.


Most media houses in the country are preparing to go digital to increase readership especially among youngsters. However, for long-term success of this endeavor, players need to chalk out a clear path to monetisation from this new platform. To attract more advertising revenue, vernacular publishing houses should focus on emerging Tier 2 and 3 towns where an untapped educated population is looking for quality print content. If the South Indian publishing houses take initiatives in these directions, it is likely that the region will continue to remain one of the strongholds of the Indian print industry.


The radio industry has enjoyed greater acceptance in the South than in the rest of the country and with the release of new frequencies in Phase III, the southern radio industry will definitely get a boost, especially in the Tier 2 and 3 towns. Active participation from national and regional FM players who provide high quality content localised not just to the state but to urban and rural areas within the state is a key winning strategy for the private FM radio industry. Creating niche channels for niche audiences and focus on differentiation of content will be deciding factors on who emerges at the top of the heap in the South Indian radio industry.

New media

The success of new media in vernacular languages depends on the development of an eco-system with vernacular digital content and relevant applications. Although new media platforms in terms of content delivery and advertising are in their infancy, online content delivery is finding increased traction with online video taking centrestage among Internet users. The South offers a huge potential given the availability of quality vernacular content and infrastructure. It remains to be seen how the vernacular new media space evolves in this region where a few initial steps have already been taken.

Click here to view and download the complete study.

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