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Kalanithi Maran Founder of SUN Group

Kalanithi Maran Founder of SUN Group

Kalanithi Maran Founder of SUN Group

Born on the twenty second of July 1964; the media rich person – Kalanithi Maran, with a internet well worth of $2.2 Billion is the Chairman & Managing Director of Sun Group – Asia’s maximum profitable Television Network.

He comes from a strength packed family in which his father Murasoli Maran become the Former Union Minister of trade, his brother Dayanidhi Maran turned into India’s former fabric minister, whilst his uncle M. Karunanithi changed into the Former Chief Minister of Tamilnadu.

He is married to Kaveri who is the Joint Managing Director of Sun Network, from whom he has a daughter named Kaviya (Born 1992).

He has time and again proved his fulfillment; because the time he entered the media commercial enterprise his father’s political rivals had been ruling the nation for most of the duration, he now not most effective emerged as No. 1 in neighbouring states, however he did so but defeating his competitors who had been politicians and business men from the ones states.

Of direction, their political history has helped them to some extent, however their achievement has been due to their undeterred hardwork and willpower towards their paintings and purpose.

Over the time frame, Kalanithi has turned out to end up a function version for the young people of Tamilnadu, and is now taken into consideration to be the best example of sheer hard work, willpower and business acumen.

How did he start his adventure?

Kalanithi had the leadership features for the reason that very starting, and always was pushed closer to doing some thing diverse than the herd.

After finishing his training at Don Bosco, Chennai [earlier Madras]; Kalanithi joined the Loyola College, and very quickly turned into appointed because the student’s union chairman and additionally led an agitation on the Sri Lankan Tamils difficulty.

Soon after, he completed his university, he moved to Pennsylvania, to pursue his Masters in Business Administration from the University of Scranton.

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While at it, he had an altogether a different experience, which gave the idea of a life-time. During the mid-80s, Kalanithi noticed that US changed into supplying had a wide array of channels which were spread across a couple of genres. This got him to thinking that, if this technology was introduced in India, it might result in a revolution.

But being so young, he wasn’t geared up to take up this sort of huge task. Hence, after finishing his Masters, he came returned to his home city and started his career by using working for Sumangli Publication as a flow clerk.

Further on, he additionally went directly to work for a weekly Tamil mag which was owned with the aid of his own family referred to as – Kunkumam.

Later within the 1990, he commenced his first enterprise underneath his family-wing, a monthly video news mag (VHS) in Tamil called Poomaalai. After efficiently running the same for round 2 years, what began came to an unfortunate result in 1992, when he became asked to forestall the enterprise due to piracy.

But this didn’t prevent him from moving ahead in lifestyles. He had now won the important experience, and his gut additionally advised him that he become prepared for some thing huge.

And for this reason taking inspiration from the idea he had got in the US, he started out the SUN Network!

Life cycle of SUN Group!

Now as a lot as annoyed he turned into by using the uncontrolled piracy, the 27-12 months-old Kalanithi determined to preserve his calm and make the maximum out of the “possibility in-disguise” that had presented itself.

Hence, he took a bank loan $86,000 assured via his father, chipped in all his savings and started out Sun TV on the 14th of April, 1993. He also offered out a small stake to his Granduncle M Karunanidhi’s circle of relatives, in towards for a minority stake (which Maran later sold out). His unique founding crew of 25 humans have been generally Kalanithi’s university friends.

The next step was to get a transponder, for which he first approached Subhash Chandra, who had these days started out Zee TV. He approached the person to invite him for an afternoon slot on their transponder. To his luck, he didn’t even get a chance to meet Subhash, and his thought turned into rejected with the aid of a Junior Editor inside the enterprise, stating that the idea wouldn’t work as wasn’t enough target audience for Tamil programmes.

Clearly, the junior wasn’t conscious that, the four South Indian states of India accounted for multiple-fourth of India’s population and one-0.33 of all houses owned TVs. Anyway, Kalanithi knew what he changed into doing and didn’t permit a petty setback demotivate him, and after little efforts, Kalanithi managed to get a transponder area from ATN and launched his channel.

But this became simply the start, and there was yet plenty to be looked after! The nation returned then did not have cable operations; for this reason, Kalanithi actually needed to alternate video keep owner’s minds to invite them to show into cable operators.

But the person by no means took no for an answer and sooner or later went directly to turn out to be the biggest SCV (Sumangali Cable Vision) cable operator in the South.

Moving on, in the early days of Sun Network, he favored to stay faraway from the limelight, and targeted more on building the stably growing organization.

The Turning Point

Back in the ones days, despite the fact that non-public players like ZEE had began to emerge but, the industry changed into largely ruled by means of the state broadcaster.

Hence, to play it secure Sun began-off with three hours of Tamil programs on ATN channel under the logo call of Sun TV.

Kalanithi had on account that the start understood that, for a Tamil TV channel, unlike otherwise – distribution is king, no longer content material. Keeping that during mind, he had received and maintained a stranglehold over cable distribution in Tamil Nadu. This became one of the elements became the number one cause which caused the humongous growth in Sun’s dominant market percentage in the times to come.

In no time, the network began to get hold of popular reaction, which caused streaming of 24 hours tv channel in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Bengali languages, which then in addition accelerated to news, films, track and so forth.

But the largest spoil of the company got here in 1998, whilst India liberalised the satellite broadcast enterprise. Quickly Sun Network controlled to grow to be one of the firsts to bag the licence. And, considering the fact that then the line on the graph has just long gone up and up!

Now during the phase from 1996 to 2002, Kalanithi’s own family had controlled to be the ruling party within the kingdom and also had a strong presence & manipulate over the countrywide-stage politics as well. Due to this, many critics ignoring Kalanithi’s hardwork pointed that, it changed into due to his circle of relatives’s electricity is why the boom had come to be so speedy for Kalanithi. But like constantly, he didn’t care for what humans had to say and did what he became excellent at!

The Challenges

On November 23, 2003, Kalanithi’s father Murasoli Maran surpassed away. Subsequently, Kalanithi became offered the DMK Party price tag for the Chennai Central Lok Sabha constituency for the 2004 elections by means of Karunanidhi his granduncle.

But his coronary heart and mind by using then have been set on enterprise. Hence, with out giving the offer a whole lot idea, he in a well mannered way refused, which in turn turned into then given to his brother Dayanidhi. He officially had stated to Outlook magazine in 2000 that – “I don't have any inclination or hobby in politics. I only have a look at politics.”

Moving on; Kalanithi listed his Sun Group at the stock change in 2006, to raise round Rs. Six hundred Cr. For launching new TV channels, FM channels and to finance the development of his new corporate office.

While at it, he additionally got here across a few hurdles! When they filed the IPO (Initial Public Offering) report with the regulator; a Member of Parliament from the BJP Party wrote a letter to the Prime Minister’s workplace raising questions on Dayanidhi Maran’s war of hobby, who at that time became the Minister for Communication and Information Technology.

But this was just a stepping stone, the real risk to the organization came in 2007, when the political have an effect on of his own family that used to help him, grew to become in opposition to him.

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During that point, Karunanidhi became the Chief Minister of the nation, and his fans had emerge as very irritated at his newspaper’s report which claimed competing political objectives of the Maran family, or even created a ruckus on the newspaper’s office.

To laid floor to a fresh rivalry between the 2 families! And Karunanidhi’s own family commenced their very own Channel referred to as Kalaignar TV and further went on to start their very own Cable TV Distribution Company as properly.

When they concept that things couldn’t get any worse is when, a criminal case turned into filed against Kalanithi by way of Jak Communications, an Azhagri (Son of Karunanidhi) owned Cable TV Distribution Company in 2010.

During this segment, many believed that Kalanithi’s career became over, however he understood that point changed into now not in his favour and kept mum. He patiently dealt with all of the problems that had been thrown upon him.

As time surpassed, and as the tide calmed down, things began to get better and he again managed regained his dominance inside the enterprise.

The Comeback

It turned into possibly his enterprise acumen, which helped him make his way via the hard instances, to again make Sun Network one of the dominant names in the media and enjoyment industry inside the u . S . A ..

And all over again, he bounced returned with the most important of the bets he had taken up to now!

In the late 2010, Kalanithi paid Rs 750 Cr. To shop for a 38% stake in SpiceJet Airlines from an American personal equity investor Wilbur Ross and the United Kingdom-primarily based Kansagra circle of relatives, which within the next few years accelerated to fifty three% stake with the aid of investing any other Rs. 800 Cr.

This became an not going move by using Kalanithi, given the reality that, the complete international had written off the aviation quarter. To which his belief turned into that, what had took place until now turned into the worst, and from right here onwards there can simplest be an upside. And that’s exactly what took place.

In the next three hundred and sixty five days the industry clearly bounced back!

Kingfisher grounded their services and folded up and fares progressed. As a end result of which, Airlines like SpiceJet gained fairly, and as a result Valuations progressed as well!

He managed to run the Airlines for four lengthy years. During this segment, his airline commercial enterprise again went down and, but this time, it went down extensively. He one way or the other managed to preserve it going for a long term, but due to the fact he couldn't see any way out. Since it become at the verge of getting grounded, after incurring big losses, Kalanithi had to allow cross of his trophy asset – SpiceJet. And in January 2015, Kalanithi bought the airline at an undisclosed charge, to Ajay Singh, one of the unique proprietors.

The Present

Since the time he commenced his profession and till date, Kalanithi has confronted numerous grievance from various people of the society, but he has usually let his work speak for itself.

And now even after the wire of SpiceJet was cut, Kalanithi still owns greater than 75% of the profitable Sun Group, which recorded revenues well worth Rs. 2,097 crores and earnings really worth Rs. 717 crores in 2013-14.

Sun Group which started out-off in his home-floor has stretched lots beyond to 27 nations, which includes the United States, Europe, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Today it holds a bouquet of 33 channels in four languages, and reaches out to more than 95 million households in India. Additionally, additionally they possess forty eight FM radio channels, two Tamil newspapers and four magazines.

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Dinakaran, a morning each day in Tamil owned by using Sun Group, holds a day by day sale of 1.2 million copies. Sun Direct, their DTH wing has greater than 5.5 million subscribers. Sun Pictures, their film production and distribution wing has launched 15 films till date. And Sumangali Cable Vision (SCV), their cable distribution wing is the most important of its type in the South.

Other than that, the corporation also owns the Indian IPL cricket crew ‘Sunrisers Hyderabad’.


  • US President Barack Obama praised the $2.7 Billion Deal with Kalanithi SpiceJet as a major improve to employment price in USA, at some stage in his go to to India (2010)
  • Won the ‘Young Businessman Award’ from CNBC, ERNST & Young
  • Named because the “Television king of southern India” by means of Forbes


14 Mar, 2023




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