Technology

"WE DON'T MIND WHO REALLY RUNS THE DTH PLATFORM

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star TV CEO Peter Mukerjea set the cat amongst the pigeons when he made a surprise appearance at the Zee TV organised TV World launch press conference in Mumbai. He, suggested that not too much should be read into his decision to attend. "I was invited so I decided to come," he shrugged. He probably was reciprocating Zee TV chairman‘s Subhash Chandra‘s gesture when he dropped into the Gary Davey farewell dinner organised by Star TV in Mumbai earlier this month. Nevertheless, the two partners turned rivals will have to maintain the relationship as they are tied to each other at least for the next year until Chandra fully pays back the amount he owes Star for the purchase of its share of the Zee TV operation. And after that by the equity investment that Star TV has in Zee Telefilms. Mukerjea, an advertising and marketing professional has been with Star TV ever since it started up its Indian operations.The Indian Cab&Sat Reporter‘s Aditya Tole caught up with him at the TV World launch for a short and snappy interview.

Excerpts: 



Q: When are you planning to go regional?

A: At the moment we have no such plans. We‘ve to get our own channels right before that. We are focussing on that. 



Q: What about the future?

A: No plans for Marathi, Punjabi, and Bengali channels for at least one and a half to two years. 



Q: In the long term?

A:
What do you mean by long term? 



Q: 3-4 Years?

A:
Who has seen such a long period? I look just a year down the line from each date.



Q: What about DTH? When do you think it would come into force?

A:
I think only Mr Jaitley might be knowing about it. We really don‘t mind who runs the platform but we‘d like to be on it. Be it Zee TV or DD or even Star TV. We are really open on this issue. We‘d like DTH to come into the country, and we are very clear on that.



Q: What will the Indian cable TV market look like in the near future?

A:
I see only two bouquets, one Star TV and the other Zee. Other channels like Sony, Discovery, etc will have to decide whether they should go to either Star or to Zee. It would be ethical for them to start a new bouquet of their own...but it would not be easy for them to sustain.



Q: How would the split from Siticable affect Star TV?

A:
I don‘t think it would affect us in any way. Siticable is an insignificant part of the whole cable industry. It comprises just around 10% of the overall industry. At the most they would block our channels. But in this case, consumers would protest. 



Won‘t you protest if Star News or Star Movies or Star World is blocked ??? The consumers would not blast us. They would blast Siticable or the local operators. Consider what would happen if ESPN/Star Sports is blacked out? 



And you cannot forget that the strength of the Star TV network is our programming. 



Q: What do you think of Set Max? Do you see it as a competition?

A:
No way can they be a competition. What is "sports" in India? It‘s cricket. Set Max shows little cricket. They show other local sports. They bagged the rights to some tournament in Sri Lanka and Singapore. Is that significant programming? 



We‘ve (ESPN/Star) bagged the cricket rights for the next five years! So SET MAX cannot be a threat to us.



On the other hand Sony Entertainment is emerging stronger by the day.                                                                                                    

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