After fortifying its position in the two southern states of Kerala and Karnataka, Star India is ready to expand its presence in the Tamil market with the launch of a second general entertainment channel (GEC) to complement Vijay TV.

The licence approval for the new channel has been pending with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry for some time now. When the approval comes, Star will be ready to launch the channel within the same quarter itself.

The name of Star’s new channel could be Vijay Plus or Star Vijay 2.

“We are launching a second Tamil GEC. We are awaiting regulatory approvals,” a source in the company said.

The strategy of two local-language GECs in a southern state is something which Star has successfully carried out in both Kerala and Karnataka. Tamil Nadu was difficult as Sun TV Network dominated the market not just with its swathe of channels but also with its strong grip in the cable TV distribution side of the business. With the emergence of state-owned Arasu Cable under the Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK government, Star feels that there is an opening in the market for it to penetrate deep.

The task will not be easy as Sun TV Network is a dominant player and has left very few gaps for rivals to exploit. But there is now space for a second player to launch new channels and grow in the market. Other broadcasters like Zee are more optimistic now than ever before and have ramped up their investments in the Tamil market.