Sun TV logoVikas SN and NT Balanarayan

Sun TV Network has inked agreements to offer content from on its television channel Sun TV on YouTube and iTunes globally on a pay-per-view basis.

While the deal period or the terms of the partnership were not disclosed, Sun Group CFO SL Narayan told The Economic Times that this agreement works on a revenue share model, wherein the company will receive a certain percentage for every download of Sun TV content on iTunes or YouTube.

Note that iTunes currently has a 70:30 revenue share, wherein 70% goes to the content provider while YouTube has a 55:45 revenue share in favour of the content provider.

Also note that we have heard of instances where YouTube gives minimum guarantee in India, but this has not been confirmed by the company. Minimum guanrantees are believed to have been a part of the out of court settlement YouTube did with T-Series, but we have heard this is no longer applicable because revenues earned were consistently above the minimum guarantee level.

Targeting Expats? It’s more likely that Sun TV is targeting expats with this deal rather than Indians, since YouTube doesn’t offer paid channels in India yet and the rentals are restricted to movies for now. It’s also not clear whether Sun TV will be offering these content on the iTunes India store.

Sun TV currently offers reruns of its daily soaps and shows free of cost to Indian users for all its channels including its main Tamil channel (397,560 subscribers globally), Sun TV News (100,898 subscribers) and its Malayalam channel Surya TV  (200,714 subscribers).

If and when YouTube rolls out paid channels in India, it’s possible that the company will probably flip the switch on these channels to go fully paid or offer a mixture of free and paid content.

Impact of declining ad revenues? The ET report quotes two undisclosed analysts to say this move was due to Sun TV’s declining ad revenues, although Narayan has denied this statement, saying the arrangement is not dependent on advertisements. However, this move suggests that the company might be slowly focusing on the Internet as a preferred mode of delivery due to TV ad limitations (Also read: Impact Of India’s TV Advertising Limits On Digital & TV; Digital First)

In-flight Partnership: In addition to YouTube and iTunes, Sun TV has also tied-up with Mumbai-based Purple IFE Ltd to deploy its content as in-flight entertainment. In the past, Purple IFE has supplied regional content for in-flight entertainment to Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Air India, Ethihad, Jet Airways, Oman Air, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Gulf Air and Qatar Airways. It’s not clear if the in-flight content will be live-streamed or just pre-recorded version of select shows.