news Saturday, May 30, 2015 - 05:30
In a move that has landed Kannada entertainment channel “Kasturi” in a legal tangle, the owners have cancelled the lease agreement with White Horse Networks (WHN), barely four months after it was signed. In February, owners of Kasturi signed an agreement with WHN, leasing out the channel’s operations to the company for a five year period. The channel is owned and run by Anita Kumaraswany, wife of former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy. Last week, Kumaraswamy cancelled the lease in a matter of a few hours after initiating talks with the company. Following this sudden termination, WHN has dragged Kasturi Media Private Limited to court. In its petition to the court, the owners argued that the agreement was cancelled in a "high-handed and illegal manner." In February, the channel was leased out to WHN to improve programming content and Television Rating Points (TRP) after the channel was found to have the lowest TRP among Kannada general entertainment channels (GEC) in the last week of January. The contract was awarded for five years in return for a monthly royalty, which is reportedly Rs 20 lakh.  Additionally, since Kumaraswamy’s family invested all their energy in “Kasturi Newz 24”, a news channel of the parent company, they were reportedly unable to devote attention to “Kasturi”, which suffered. After taking charge, WHN attempted to revamp the programming content along with changing advertisement slots. Even a brand new logo was unveiled in March along with a few new shows. However, even this strategy failed to attract audiences and TRP ratings deteriorated further to 38 in May. “As much as eight hours per day had advertisement features and some of them even on prime time,” a source was quoted as saying by Bangalore Mirror. Though revenue from the advertisements had increased, it would not last in the long run, a source told The News Minute. “The quality had not been maintained, the image of channel worsened. They failed to create a space for themselves in the market,” he said, adding that the monthly payment for the lease was irregular. It is also rumoured that WHN had insisted that Anita Kumaraswamy take control of the channel since they were unable to hold ground, the source added.