• Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute | October 25, 2014 | 05:15 pm IST

We watch news every day, but the stories of who owns the media organisations are as interesting as the news these channels report. According to data released by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, there are 394 news and current affairs channels in our country, out of a total of 669 television channels that have been given permission to function by the government. 

Here’s a short guide to who owns the news channels in the five southern states:

As the list is exhaustive and if you wish to read only about a particular state/ language, click on Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu.

KANNADA  

TV 9 Kannada

Tv9

TV 9 was the first Kannada news channel to operate in the language, and the state now has 10 news channels broadcasting news in Kannada. Some are owned by politicians, others by businessmenn and two are are owned by journalists. Although there are 10 news channels, the viewership is disproportionately in favour of TV 9 Kannada, and the rest is shared by three or four news channels.

TV 9  Kannada is owned by Associated Broadcasting Company Limited (ABCL) and is the most watched news channel in Kannada. It is also the only Kannada news channel to have a dedicated programme for women called Ladies Club.

Suvarna News 24x7 is owned by Asianet Communications Limited, in which Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrashekar has controlling stake. The channel has been trying to bring in a culture of serious prime time debating in Kannada, but has not been successful at the TRP charts.

ETV news All the non-Telugu channels of the group are owned by Network 18, which is in turn owned by Reliance's Independent Media Foundation. It is not a serious contender for news viewership.

Raj News Kannada news channel owned by the Raj Television Network Limited, a public listed company. Its Managing Director M. Raajhendran is a businessman who joined the DMK in June 2007 and owns 11.3% of the network.

BTV is owned by Kumar G M, a journalist who has now set up a news channel. It began operations on July 21, 2014, after Chief Minister Siddaramaiah inaugurated the channel.

Samaya was started by Congress leader Satish Jarkiholi in June 2010. It has been plagued with all kinds of troubles, including financial and managerial. Within a year of its launch, ownership changed hands. Former industries minister in the previous BJP government Murugesh Nirani and his associate Sachin Narayan, who owns a liquor business, took over and ran the channel for two years.

In July 2013, the management had declared a lockout as it was unable to pay salaries to its employees. Employees had gathered outside the Labour Commissioner’s office. The channel was re-launched in July 2013 by its new owner Vijay Thathaiah, who has a real estate business. For nearly two months before that, the channel had closed operations and left employees stranded. Even now, salaries are not paid on time, employees say.

Janasri was started by mining baron G Janardhan Reddy in February 2011. Things were hunky dory at first, but after Reddy’s arrest it appears that things have gone downhill for the channel’s employees. Some time ago, an anonymous unsigned letter was being circulated on WhatsApp about alleged irregularities in the company, but the main grouse was that employees’ salaries hadn’t been paid for a few months.

Kasthuri Newz 24x7 is owned by Anita Kumaraswamy, wife of Janata Dal (Secular) leader H D Kumaraswamy. It is generally known for not showing the party or any of its leaders in a bad light. The news channel was launched only in 2011. Until then, the Kasthuri ran periodic news segments.

Public TV is owned by Writeman Media, in which the channel’s H R Ranganath is Managing Editor and Chairman. It was launched in 2012.

Udaya News is owned by Sun Network, which also has many channels in Tamil Nadu. Sun News was founded by Kalanithi Maran, the Chairman and Managing director of Sun Network. Kalanithi Maran is the grand nephew of DMK leader M Karunanidhi

MALAYALAM  

Asianet News

Asianet News is a Malayalam news channel From Asianet News Network Pvt Ltd that started transmission in 2001. In 2006, Jupiter Media and Entertainment Venture owned by Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar acquired the channel. Though Rajeev Chandrasekhar has endorsed Narendra Modi extensively, the channel follows its own editorial policy and was recently boycotted by the BJP in Kerala for negative reportage about them.

Indiavision is a Malayalam news channel from Indiavision Satellite Communications and is owned by minister M K Muneer . This was the first 24-hour news channel in Malayalam, and was launched in 2003. Though Muneer belongs to the Indian Muslim League, India Vision has largely maintained a free editorial policy and even broke some of the big stories against the League. It had temporarily stopped operations for a few hours in March 2014, after a group of employees protested against non-payment of salary. Following this, managing editor M P Basheer’s employment was terminated by the management. 

Manorama News is a Malayalam news channel from the Malayala Manorama group, which is owned by the Kottayam-based family of Kandathil Varghese Mappila. It went on air on August 2006. The channel is headed by Johny Lucose, who is Director (News) and is overseen by Jayanth Mamman Mathew (Deputy Editor, Malayala Manorama) 

Malayala Manorama is one of the oldest media companies in the country. Malayala Manorama Company was incorporated by Kandathil Varghese Mappillai at Kottayam on 14 March 1888.

Mathrubhumi News,a news channel from Mathrubhumi Printing and Publishing Ltd was launched in January 2013. The parent company Mathrubhumi was established in 1922, but in 1989, Socialist Janata (Democratic) political party leader and planter M P Veerendrakumar took over as Managing Director. Unni Balakrishnan, who was the Regional bureau Chief of Asianet News, joined Mathrubhumi TV during its inception as Editor-in-chief of the channel.

Reporter TV is a Malayalam news channel from Indo-Asian News channel Private Ltd. Its CEO is MV Nikesh Kumar. Nikesh Kumar, a popular news personality of Kerala was the first editor-in-chief of India Vision, and later started Reporter TV. Nikesh is the son of M V Raghavan, veteran communist leader. 

People TV is a channel is owned by the Malayalam Communications Limited in which the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has shares. Its Managing Director is John Brittas. People TV with its clear allegiance to the communists, actively bashes the Congress in Kerala. One of the biggest recent political scandals of the state, the solar scam, was first broken by the channel.

TV New is a news channel jointly owned by the businessmen of Kerala through the Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI). Its original name was TV Now, but according to sources, the name had be changed to TV New over legal hurdles, as another channel had a similar sounding name. 

TAMIL 

Sun Tv Network

Most news channels in Tamil Nadu are party mouthpieces, most directly owned by politicians, political parties or benamis.

SUN News- Established in May 2000, Sun News was founded by Kalanithi Maran, the Chairman and Managing director of Sun Network. Kalanithi Maran is the grand nephew of DMK leader M Karunanidhi. Though the channel is largely believed to be a mouthpiece of the DMK, in the last few years, the channel has been claiming to follow a neutral editorial policy. This change was more apparent after the Marans had a fallout with the Karunanidhi family in 2007.

Kalaignar TV is owned by Karunanidhi's family and was launched in 2007 when the family had a fallout with the Maran brothers. Karunanidhi's wife MK Dayalu owns 60% in Kalaignar TV, his daughter and Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi owns 20%.  Sharad Kumar, who was earlier a stakeholder in Gemini TV and Udaya TV, holds the balance 20% stake in Kalaignar TV.

As per the ED charge sheet in 2G case, DB Realty promoter Shahid Balwa circuitously route Rs.200 crores as kickbacks in 2G scam to Kalaignar TV. The channel is the DMK's mouthpiece in Tamil Nadu.

Jaya News is a news channel owned by a company called Mavis Satcom Ltd. The channel is run on a day-to-day basis by Rabi Bernard, a current AIADMK Rajya Sabha MP. Jayalalithaa's aide Sasikala Natarajan too is involved in the running of the channel. The channel is openly biased towards AIADMK and devotes many hours everyday to carrying Jayalalithaa's statements.

Puthiya Thalamurai (New Generation) was a news channel started by the  The New Generation Media Corporation in 2011. Puthiya Thalamurai was touted as the first independent news channel in Tamil Nadu with no obvious political leanings. The media house belongs to the SRM Group of Companies, that owns colleges and has a successful transportation business.

Puthiya Thalamurai's initial success made other channels rethink their editorial lines. Later, the channel hired people for an English channel they proposed, but the idea was shelved. The SRM group also has a political party called the IJK, which contested under the NDA banner during Lok Sabha elections 2014.

Thanthi Tv Logo

Thanthi TV is a news channel that began operation in 2012 and is owned by the Dina Thanthi group. Thanthi group in fact took over a Tamil Nadu based English channel that was being run as a joint venture between NDTV and The Hindu. After Puthiya Thalamurai, Thanthi TV i perhaps the only other channel in Tamil Nadu with an editorial that is largely free of bias.

Makkal TV is a mouth piece of the Pattali Makkal Katchi. Launched in September 2006, the channel is promoted by Makkal Tholai Thodarpu Kuzhumam and PMK leader Ramadoss is the founder of channel. Makkal TV completely avoides cinema-based programmes and tele-serials, and instead concentrates on documentaries and news based shows.

Captain TV is a 24-hour television channel that began operations on April 14, 2010. The channel is owned and operated by Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam, a political party lead by popular actor Vijayakanth. The managing director of Captain Media is LK Sudhish, brother-in-law of Vijayakanth.

News7Tamil is an upcoming news channel in Tamil Nadu. It is owned by by Alliance Broadcasting, run by the family of mining baron Vaikuntarajan and family. Vaikuntarajan who owns VV Minerals in known to be close to former Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa.

Raj News is owned by Raj Network. Raj Television Network is a satellite television network established on June 3, 1994. Its Managing Director M. Raajhendran is a businessman who joined the DMK in June 2007 and owns 11.3% of the network. It owns a variety of television channels in multiple languages covering south Indian States.

Vasanth TV and Mega TV are two news channels owned by Congress leaders Vasanth Kumar and K V Thangabalu respectively.

TELUGU 

Telugu channels have in the last few months clearly divided themselves into Telangana-loyal and Andhra-loyal categories. Andhra and Telangana put together have almost thirty-five 24 hour news channels, of which at least 15 are run by cable networks in districts. Andhra has a mix of channels- some owned by politicians, others by businessmen. Sleaze forms a big portion of news on these channels.

TV9 Telugu is owned by Associated Broadcasting company Limited or ABCL (Same as TV 9 Kannada). ABCL, which was established in 2003, is one of the leading regional channel broadcasters in India. The company has two news based channels in Kannada and Telugu languages under the brand TV9. Ravi Prakash is the CEO. Some months ago it was banned by Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao for being 'anti-Telangana'. A month ago, TV 9 rebranded its second news channel Tv One as Jai Telangana. The new channel caters to Telangana, while TV 9 Telugu remains an AP channel. 

Tv9

Sakshi News, launched in March 2009, is owned by Indira Television Ltd. and is running under the chairmanship of Y.S. Bharati, wife of Jagan Mohan Reddy. Jagan is a member of the Legislative Assembly from Pulivendula constituency and is the son of the former Chief Minister of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy. The channel is actively used by Jagan Mohan Reddy for political propaganda, especially against his political rivals. When he was arrested the channel ran consistent campaign claiming Jagan was innocent. 

T News:The channel was launched in April 2011 and belongs to Telangana Broadcasting Private Limited. The channel is like the official mouthpiece of the TRS and has been branded the pulse of Telangana.

ABN Andhra Jyothi is a channel owned by Vemuri Radhakrishna who is known to be close to the Andhra Chief Minister Chandra Babu Naidu. He also owns the Andhra Jyothi newspaper and rivals like Jagan and KCR have alleged that Chandra Babu Naidu had benami investments in Andhra Jyothi. In 2012, it was ABN that first played out sex tapes of the then Andhra Pradesh Governor N.D. Tiwari. This channel was also banned in Telangana, along with TV 9. When Naidu became CM of Andhra Pradesh, ABN was given the contract of covering and transmitting live signals of all his events.

Raj News is owned by Raj Network. Raj Television Network is a satellite television network established on June 3, 1994. Its Managing Director M. Raajhendran is a businessman who joined the DMK in June 2007 and owns 11.3% of the network. It owns a variety of television channels in multiple languages covering south Indian States.

HMTV is a news channel owned by the Telangana based Hyderabad Media House Ltd. K Vaman Rao, Founder and Chairman of the Kapil Group, is the Chairman of the Hyderabad Media House group. Rao is a qualified Chartered Accountant and runs successful chit funds. Chief Editor and managing director of the channel is Y.Rajashekar, a senior journalist who has worked with many organisations in the past. The group also runs the Hans India newspaper and portal.

V6 News: The channel started on March 1, 2012 and is owned by VIL Media Pvt Ltd., a media company run by G Vivek, former Congress MP and his brother, former AP Labour minister, G Vinod. The channel that is pro Congress, was named V6 as there are six siblings including Vinod and Vivek.  The channel's chief editor and CEO is Ankam Ravi, a seasoned journalist. 

Gemini News is a new channel run by the Sun Network (Sun Group is an Indian conglomerate group, based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The group was founded by Kalanithi Maran and his family members including his wife Kaveri Maran)

NTV or New Generation TV is owned by the Rachana Television Private Limited (RTPL).A businessman called Narendra Chowdhury is the chairman and managing director of RTPL and of the channel. Chowdhury, who is the ex-Chairman of Jubilee Housing Board, also owns women's channel Vanitha TV,  devotional channel Bhakti TV and, has recently acquired INEWS (Telugu News Channel).

TV5,a news channel by Shreya Broadcasting Pvt Ltd., is an Andhra based channel and is owned by businessman BR Naidu. Naidu, who used to run a travel agency, struck it rich with a hair product called Nuzen Hair oil. Much of the profits from the hair oil business and subsequent businesses were channeled into the news channel and other media ventures.

10 TV is a co-operative news channel and is run by CPI (M) members and loyalists. The channel is owned by a Communist loyalist Veer Bhadra. Prof K. Nageswar, is the Chairman of the channel. The channel, like a co-operative, operates on money collected from CPI M members across the state.

99% TV is a news channel run by women cadres of the CPI. 

99

It started out as a venture that will be run only by women, but did induct men finally. The channel's slogan says-  "99% news is biased. Biased not towards a political group, but biased in favour of the people."

Studio N is a 24 hour Telugu news channel which is aired in Andhra Pradesh and was started by businessman Narne Srinivasa Rao. His daughter married popular actor and relative of Chandrababu Naidu, Junior NTR. The entire family was managing the channel, which in March 2014 was sold to an entreprenuer named Srivatsava Sunkara. 

CVR News owned by Image Broadcasting Private Limited is named after the group's chairman and businessman C V Rao.

ETV news is a Telugu news channel run by Eenadu Television Pvt Ltd. The network has three news channels- ETV Telugu, ETV Andhra Pradesh & ETV Telangana. Though Network 18 took over most of ETV media ventures across the country, only the AP and Telangana ones remain with the parent company.

 (story on ownership patterns later)