Tamil Nadu to 'nationalise' cable TV

Indo Asian News Service

Chennai, June 3 (IANS) Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa's government Friday announced that private cable television will be 'nationalised' in Tamil Nadu, a move that is expected to hit the Maran family-run company that has near monopoly in the state's cable business.

The AIADMK government has also decided to revive the nearly defunct state-run Arasu Cable Corp (ACC).

Governor Surjit Singh Barnala, in his customary address to the assembly, said the government had decided to 'nationalise' private cable TV services without affecting the business of last mile operators in the state.

The move is expected to hit Sumangali Cable Vision (SCV), which is a near monopoly in the state's cable business.

The multi-system operator (MSO) is the cash cow of the Sun TV group, owned by the Maran family which owes allegiance to the AIADMK's archrival DMK.

This is AIADMK's second attempt to nationalise the cable TV business after 2006. At that time too, the idea was to take over the business of MSOs, who feed satellite television signals to neighbourhood cable TV operators.

The target, then too, was seen to be SCV.

The government's attempts did not succeed as Governor Barnala returned the bill as the subject fell under the purview of the union government.

However, the DMK government in 2008 launched the ACC after the Maran brothers - Kalanithi Maran and Dayanidhi Maran, who is a DMK MP and union minister - fell foul of party president M. Karunanidhi's family.

Kalanithi Maran, the grand nephew of Karunanidhi, is the promoter of Sun TV Network.

A subsequent family patch-up resulted in the ACC becoming near defunct.