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Star India plans to distribute more channels

Purvita Chatterjee

Looking at the possibility of regional, English news channels

The broadcaster is looking at beefing up its distribution revenues by bringing more channels into its bouquet.

Mumbai , Sept. 8

Exploring the possibility of distributing more channels, Star India intends bringing in more genres in its bouquet. Having included the sports channels from Neo Sports stable, the broadcaster is open to engaging in more distribution pacts with channels, which are not already a part of its bouquet. Having regional channels and may be even an English news channel is a possibility which may be considered by the broadcaster in the future.

Speaking to Businessline, Mr Sameer Nair, CEO, Star India, said, "Presently, we do not have any regional channels but we may look at distributing it in future. Even English news does not form part of the bouquet and if at all, there could be a channel in the English news segment that we could think of distributing," said Mr Nair.

Considering that the Star bouquet is already distributing channels such as National Geographic, Disney, Hungama TV and a host of general entertainment channels, the broadcaster is looking at beefing up its distribution revenues by bringing in more channels. "With the two sports channels from Nimbus we have completed the sports bouquet and we will look at opportunities to bring in more channels where we not already present in,'' Mr Nair said. However, there are no plans to pick up equity in Nimbus Sports Broadcast, post the decision to distribute its soon to be launched sports channels, he specified.

Considering Star already has a joint venture with ESPN in the form of ESPN Star Sports, it has decided to forge a distribution pact with Nimbus Sports Broadcast for its two sports channels. "ESPN Star Sports will continue the channel on its own as it has been doing all this while," Mr Nair said.

Cyber space options

Meanwhile, Star India is trying to strengthen its presence in the Internet space by becoming the official partner for the ICC Champions Trophy. Through, the company's entertainment Web site, Star India is tapping into new revenue streams such as video and advertising. Added Mr Ajay Vidyasagar, Executive Vice-President, Marketing & Communication, Star India, "We are working to grow our Web site by bagging the internet rights to events such as the World Cup and The ICC Champions Trophy."

Considering Sony Entertainment Television, has recently struck a deal with advertising agency, Dentsu India, for an advertising underwriting contract for the Champions Trophy and the World Cup, the Star Group does not see itself striking such deals.

As Mr Nair said, "We would rather sell our ad inventory directly than lose out on the premium by bringing in an ad agency."

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