Balaji Telefilms: A Success Story

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR007
Case Length : 5 Pages
Period : 1994-2002
Organization : Balaji Telefilms Ltd
Pub Date : 2002
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : India
Industry : Media, Entertainment & Information

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Starting from Scratch

Balaji was formed in 1994 as a private limited company. The first two serials produced by the company costing Balaji Rs 25 lakh were rejected by all satellite channels, the first serial to be aired was 'Mano Ya Na Mano' on Zee TV in 1995. This was followed by the music-based show 'Dhun Dhamaka', telecast on DD Metro, which was moderately successful. However, true success came with 'Hum Paanch' - a comedy serial which ran for five years on Zee TV. This was followed by the daily soaps 'Itihaas' on Doordarshan, and 'Kudumbum' (in Tamil) on Sun TV. These soaps went on to become huge hits...

A Recipe for Success

Balaji's success was attributed to its early entry into the business and presence in the regional markets. Balaji was credited for assessing the public demand properly. Its presence across the spectrum and its cordial relationship with most channels ensured it's continued growth. At the same time, its expenditure was controlled by its investment in high quality studios and equipment. Throughout the 1990s, Western-style plots had dominated Indian television soaps. Instead of following this trend, Balaji conducted research and TV shows and viewers. Balaji's research showed that the reach of fiction-based shows was about 60% and that they appealed to women across regions and languages...

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Aiming Still Higher

In 2001, Balaji began exploring export markets for its content library. The markets in USA, UK, Canada, Middle East, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Mauritius with their significant NRI population were deemed to become major markets for the company in the future.

Balaji was also planning serials in Marathi, Punjabi, Bengali and Gujarati. The Indian television software industry was highly competitive, comprising a few organized and many unorganized players. Padmalaya Telefilms, ATN International, Jain Studios, Galaxy Multimedia, TV18, Creative Eye, Pritish Nandy Communications and Sri Adhikari Brothers were the other major players in the sector.

The fact that some of the channels were getting into backward integration by starting their own production house did not augur well for production houses like Balaji. However, the ever-increasing number of channels was expected to help the company...

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