Ford Salaam Habibi to Rock Malayali Community in the UAE

DUBAI - Ford Salam Habibi, a blockbuster mega show, will rock the Malayali community in the UAE on December 16 and 17 .Directed by a renowned director of the Malayalam film industry, Siddique and spearheaded by Malayalam superstar Dileep, the show will be held at Al Jazira Stadium in Abu Dhabi on December 16 and Al Wasl Stadium on December 17. At a time when the entertainment scene was dull due to the mourning period and the Malayalam film industry is facing a serious problem due to the over exposure of stars and super stars in the small screene and stage shows, the threat from piracy and problems created by the serial revolution, many film artists dont have enough number of films to be active. "We will try to make it a good programme. Already enough work has been done," said the show organisers.

The show will feature more than 25 top artistes from the South Indian film industry. The star line-up in the show includes Kalabhavan Mani, Harisree, Ashokan, Salim Kumar, Vineeth, Vineeth Kumar, Nadir Shah, Mamukoya, Indrans, Rambha, Meenakshi, Indraja, Swetha Menon, Sindhu Menon, KPAC Laliltha among others. The musical flavour will be added by popular singers of the new generation Madhu Balakrishnan and Jyotsana.

From a mimicry background, Dileep has endeared himself to the masses by his unassuming nature and irresistible screen charisma. “The mega success of the Arabian Thriller Express which was headed by Dileep in the beginning of 2004, is the major factor behind organising this mega event,” said Sunil from Asianet. More than 30,000 people are expected to see the two shows in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.The tickets for the show are already on sale and are available at all Lulu outlets in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, Al Falah Plaza, Sky Jewellery showrooms and in some popular Kerela restaurants.


Dubai - August 8 2004 Asianet Radio, the leading Malayalam radio station in the Middle East is preparing the groundwork for Ponnonam 2004, a two-day music and entertainment programme for the expatriate Malayali community in the UAE. The three and half hours entertainment and humour will be staged on two days (August 19th and August 20th) because the expected audience of 7000 people cannot be accommodated in Al Nasr Leusureland hall. "As the hall can accommodate only 3,500 people we are conducting the same programme on two days," said Sunil N.K. who is handling the show..

  Asianet Radio which started operations three years ago as the third radio station in the UAE has marched ahead of others with more listeners and revenue.

The programme ticket is sold by the Emirates Post through various outlets of Atlas Jewellery, Lulu Hypermarket (Ghusais) and Lulu Center (Karama). Those who buy 4 packets of postcard millionaire cards will get two free entry passes and those who buy two packages of Post Card Millionaire will get one free ticket for Ponnonam 2004. Post Card Millionaire is the latest raffle draw from the Emirates Post that will create a millionaire every month besides offering many additional prizes.

With Ponnonam 2004, Asianet Radio is entering a new era of stage shows and event management, a major entertainment business in the region. "As an established TV and radio company, we are planning to organize such events on a regular basis. Every year at least four major entertainment shows will be organized by Asianet Radio," says Sunil N.K. Administration and Financial Manager, Asianet Radio Network Dubai. According to him, Asianet radio was associated with two major events in the past - Asianet Arabian Thriller Express starring Dileep and Asianet Mohabath starring the superstar Mohnanlal. "Both these events were held with Asianet title sponsorship - Asianet Arabian Thriller Express and Asianet Mohabath. Both these programmes were well received by the Keralite community in the UAE - one of the reasons that prompted the radio station to venture into new terrain of stage shows," said Sooraj Kumar, Marketing coordinator Asianet Radio..

Asianet Radio which started operations three years ago as the third radio station in the UAE has marched ahead of others with more listeners and revenue. Thanks to its special focus on quality programmes mixing entertainment and serious news based, intellectually stimulating programmes, the radio station has carved out a niche market in the Gulf region. The Asianet seriousness is lacking in some of the new generation radio stations which suffer many teething problems. "Even though we were the third radio station to start operation, Asianet Radio surpassed others in terms of business volume and advertisement revenue," says Sooraj. According to him with the backing of Asianet TV, the radio network is able to withstand competition from any quarters.

"When the Asianet Thriller Express was telecast, it got rating for attracting maximum number of viewers. Ponnonam 2004 will also be telecast on Asianet TV," he added. The programme highlights include performance by Vidhu Pratap, Madhu Balakrishnan, Rajesh Vijay, Karthik, Chithra Iyer Rimi Tomi, Jyotsna and Gayathri. Special mimics by Kalabhavan Navas and team will add a humourous touch to the Onam cultural feast. Besides the main sponsor Emirates Post, which is promoting its Post Card Millionaire sales, other sponsors include the Western Union, Imperial Swiss Watches, Canon, Rainbow, Team, Indian Airlines, Landmark Plaza Hotel, Europcar, Al Mawarid printing press and Goa to Kerala Restaurant. The programme is organized and marketed by Max Media . More

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S.C. Pandya*

Direct-to-Home (DTH) broadcasting services are a relatively recent development in the world of television (TV). In early 1980’s, the development and use of DTH satellite receivers became a popular alternative for people in rural areas, not served by broadcasters or cable network, to receive TV programmes which were earlier available in urban areas only.

The Government, however, permitted DTH broadcasting in India on November 02, 2000. The primary reason for the Government to have permitted DTH broadcasting seems to be its proven capability of serving rural areas as well as population scattered over vast distances in remote and inaccessible hilly terrains.

Policy Framework

After a long wait of nearly four years, DTH broadcasting seems to be knocking on our door. It is a question of any day, any time. Right now, the Government is busy in finalizing a long term DTH policy to regulate broadcasters, in consultation with Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) , which is also the regulatory body for broadcasting industry, in addition to telecommunications.

While finalizing the policy framework, the Government has kept the interest of the consumer in prime focus. That is why; the Government wants to include certain key points in the policy. For example, the pricing of the channels as well as the price of the bouquet of programmes to be offered by each channel should be "reasonable". In addition, the proposed policy should have a mandatory clause of "must sharing of channels" with an affordable price tag to restrain broadcaster from charging exorbitant rates for their channels. This clause will also ensure that DTH does not become monopoly of a few broadcasters only.

In fact, in its recommendation made to the Government, TRAI has very clearly stated that ‘in the unified license regime, subscribers will be able to get all types of telecommunication and broadcast services from a single pipe. In other words, subscribers would not need separate connection for services like cable TV, DTH or broadband’. This is one of the reasons for TRAI to recommend DTH as an alternative platform to offer broadband services.


Distribution of multi-channel TV programmes directly through satellites is commonly referred to as Direct-to-Home broadcasting services, and is offered in Ku ("kay-you") band. This band refers to a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum in the microwave range of frequencies i.e., from 11.7 to 12.7 GHz. This segment is used primarily for satellite communication because of its superior quality of transmission and stereo quality audio.

The question often asked is ‘what is the big difference between DTH and a cable network which has become a household name in big as well as small cities and towns’. We all know that it was the cable TV, which made possible for subscribers to view programmes from distant stations, which could not be received by outdoor antenna, which had become the defining skyline of every city. For a monthly subscription, the cable company gave their subscribers the choice of many more channels than was possible earlier.

For the uninitiated, it will be sufficient to know that, in most respects, DTH programmes reach the subscriber in much the same way as cable programmes except that the subscribers are not forced to get a cable connection from an intermediary known as the cable operator. Like cable operators, DTH programme suppliers also package a variety of programmes and market them to their subscribers by charging a monthly fee. But, the similarity ends here. The two systems differ basically in the technology, which is used for transmitting signals from the broadcaster and later receiving the same back to be sent to the subscriber’s TV set. While the cable subscribers access their programmes from terrestrial stations, DTH subscribers receive the programmes directly from high-powered telecommunications satellites stationed in geosynchronous orbit nearly 36,000 km above the earth.

Geosynchronous Orbit

When a satellite is placed in geosynchronous orbit, it appears to be stationary in relation to the earth with the result that it would always seem to be at the same point vis-à-vis any place on the earth. That is why, this is the most preferred orbit for satellite broadcasters as well as subscribers who have to install a small dish antenna, measuring about 18 inches or even less in diameter, for receiving programmes directly from the satellite. Because of the satellite being in a geosynchronous orbit, the direction of the antenna has not to be adjusted every now and then.

But, a dish antenna alone is not enough for availing of the facility of DTH programmes. In addition, the subscriber requires a set-top box as well. While the dish antenna is fixed on the roof, the set-top box is placed directly above the TV set. Once these two are in place, the subscriber can choose and receive the channel of his choice. This is its real cutting edge. Depending upon the capability of the programme provider, the number of channels can theoretically go up to 300 or more if the TV set is tuned to receive such large number of channels.


It is an integrated receiver and decoder contraption, which, in fact, is the heart of the DTH system at the receiving end.The broadcaster transmits (technically called uplinking) audio and video programmes in the form of signals in a digital format to a designated transponder already fitted inside a designated satellite.

The transponder amplifies and changes that signal to a different format so that it does not interfere with the signals leaving the transponder (technically called downlinking) on their return journey to earth. This signal is captured by the dish antenna that feeds the same to the set-top box which coverts the signal back to its original format for all of us to enjoy it on the TV set.

Pros and Cons!

The number of channels offered by DTH service is no doubt its most appealing feature, but its major drawback is the initial cost of getting this system. Depending upon the service provider and the brand of equipment, it may not be within the reach of common man who can very well afford cable services.

Another drawback will, however, be faced by people living in Himalayan region and in areas like Cherrapunji which experience world’s heaviest rainfall throughout the year. DTH signals in these areas, as in similar areas in Europe and the US, often suffer from fading of signals due to snow fade and rain fade interference.

But the biggest drawback, according to experts, is that in about 80 million TV homes in the country, nearly one-third of the television sets are so outdated that they can receive just about 10 channels. In addition, these sets do not have the state-of-the-art technology compatible with that of a set-top box. Subscribers having these ‘outdated’ sets will, therefore, have to invest not only in a dish antenna and a set-top box but also in a new TV set, which only well-to-do households can afford. To enjoy DTH services, the common man will, willy-nilly, have to wait till the prices come down, which will, in any case.

*Freelance Writer

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