One Big Idea by Peter Mukerjea: 3 ways to make money from a TV channel

16 Apr,2013

By Peter Mukerjea


9XM is a good example – don’t you think? Profitable in under a year. Take it apart and you’ll see how. But that was in the past.


The other way to make a profitable channel is to be owned by a sugar daddy like Rupert Murdoch who has deep pockets and can live with a loss making channel business till suddenly one day one show works (KBC) and turns the fortunes of the channel on its head and then keep investing more money than anyone else in content, buy into cable to ensure carriage, invest in DTH to ensure you get digital distribution, invest more than anyone else in sport – read cricket- and then tighten the screws on the cable operators to pay you for showing the national sport on TV. But, aaaah, not everyone’s so lucky to be an RM-owned channel and that was in the past too.


But if you’re starting afresh now in 2013, and you had Rs 20 cr to spare per year for a couple of years, you could start a high end intelligent news channel with no more than 20 seriously good people and make it a talk news channel with intelligent people to come and give their views on a variety of subjects that make up the day’s news. No multi city bureaus, no satellite vans chasing ambulances, news anchors that double up as editors and editors that double up as news anchors and virtually no layers of people in the channel hierarchy. Keep your cost low, and make it advertising-free. Yes, advertising-free!


With the onset of a world that will rely on digital distribution, subscriptions for this service will make the channel profitable in less than two years. Then sell it to Rupert so he can take the model and spread it around the country and multiplex the service for each state in the country! Then multiply the profits.


– The writer is former CEO of Star India. His column, Media Mullings, appears often on MxMIndia



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