sunlifeStung by falling viewership, the Sun group is getting combative with investments into fresh content.
It is relaunching Sun Life as a second GEC (general entertainment channel) targeting the young audience. Incidentally, the group has re-entered film making business under Sun Pictures, which made the blockbuster Rajinikanth starrer ‘Enthiran’, after 2010. The company is producing the Vijay starrer Sarkar now.

“Beginning September 2018, we will also reposition Sun Life into a second GEC to offer a totally different genre of entertainment that is designed to appeal to a generation of young viewers in the age group of 18 to 30 years,” said S L Narayanan, Group CFO (chief financial officer), Sun Group.

“We are pretty sure that the refurbished Sun Life, with its refreshed content targeted at urban youth, will make strong forays and wean away viewership share points from competition,” he said.

“Sun TV will make significant investments in a slew of new serials and further reinforce its positioning among the several million homes that love our content. We are confident that the GRPs (gross rating points) for Sun TV will rise further on the back of these initiatives,” Narayanan said

The viewership share of Sun TV, the dominant player in the Tamil GEC space, fell to 46.8% in the first quarter (Q1) of 2018-19.

The share has been declining steadily in the last two years — from the high of 65.7% hit in Q1 of 2016-17, data from BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) Ratings compiled by Kotak Institutional Equities showed. In the meantime, the share of its key competitors — Star Vijay and Zee Tamil — have been on the rise.

Zee Tamil has seen a huge growth in its viewership in the last one year.

While Star Vijay’s share has moved from 16.9% in Q1 of 2017-18 to 21.4% in Q1 of 2018-19, Zee Tamil’s share increased from 13.6% to 20.1% during the timeframe.

“It is inevitable that market share will fall as newer rivals enter in any market. But competition expands the size of the market and inevitably the dominant players benefit from such growth,” Narayanan stated

“There was a marginal dip in ratings during quarter ended June 30, 2018, and that’s not new. It happens every year thanks to most audiences switching to the IPL games that are played during prime-time hours through first week of April until last week of May every year,” he said. 

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