The DMK government had launched the ACTVL in 2008 after the Maran brothers – Kalanithi and Dayanidhi fell foul of Karunanidhi’s family. A subsequent family patch-up resulted in the ACTVL becoming as good as dead.
The Media’s foothold towards the south of the Vindhyas has always acted as a barometer to gauge the strength of the leading political party’s power on the state. Tamil Nadu is a living example of this sort of obscene media dictatorship, particularly by the DMK party which grew in leaps and bounds from 2006 to 2011, where its cable network, SCV was able to establish a virtual monopoly over the entire state. This way Sun TV was able to place its own private channels in the prime band. This monopoly has stretched to such an extent that it has lead Udayanidhi Stalin, son of former deputy chief minister M K Stalin to produce 15 films under the production hous, Red Giant movies in in the last three years. His cousin Dayanidhi Alagiri matches his record.
Karunanidhi led DMK has firmly entrenched itself as the only dominant player in all forms of mass media from cable networks, news channels, entertainment and film channels to radio stations and last but not least, telecom communications in the attempt of acquiring the much tainted 2G spectrum.
Part of Jayalalitha’s manifesto was to nationalise the cable tv operations in Tamil Nadu which has been a major fulcrum of the DMK party and is controversial for its coercive ways of taking centre stage in the lives of the people of the Tamil Nadu. Last elections, it has been reported that Karunanidhi has dished out a whooping Rs. 4000 crore on giving away colour tv sets (along with subscription, procrurement and distribution) in exchange for votes.
Amma, as she is affectionately called in Tamil Nadu is seen to be making all the right moves with her once defunct cable tv enterprise. The most recent reports that have come out are that with the revival of Arasu, Maran-controlled Sun has witnessed a huge in dip in network viewership in the last ten weeks. The downfall can be attributed to ACTL way of providing signals directly to the public via Local cable operators and Multi System operators at extremely affordable Rs 70 per month while most private operators charge double of that. In addition to this, Arasu cable has tied up with major channel distributors to further circulate to cable operators a total of 95 channels and will include prominent channels of Zee, Star, Sony ESPN, Times Group, UTV and AXN. Amma’s sweet revenge doesn’t end here. She also has grand plans of taxing DTH services, aimed at affecting DMK Inc.
Leasing fresh life into the ACTL, Amma remarked at a press interview that “A monopoly system exists in the cable television distribution business and people were being charged high rates. As a result, one family is profiteering due to the monopoly situation,”
While over 37,000 cable operators have known to already have formed alliance with Arasu Cable, it remains to be be seen whether Arasu can see success without carrying prominent channels such as Sun TV, or Kalaignar TV.