Television

Star, Sony in a hot fray for Disney

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Is Disney getting into the Indian market? We have been hearing reports that the company is in conversation with Star TV to distribute the channel in India. Star TV is believed to be open to even holding back the launch of FoxKids in the Indian market for Disney's sake.

Apparently, Sony has also thrown its lot into the fray though senior officials within Sony deny it. Sony is looking to create a bouquet which will rival the offerings of Star TV and Zee TV and is hence hungry to strike a deal. But what could queer the pitch for Sony is the partnership between ESPN - owned by Disney - and Star for their sports channels in India, ESPN and Star Sports. On that record, Star TV looks set to get the mandate to distribute the channel in India.

Disney has been known to blow hot and cold on India. In the mid-1990s it was all ready to storm Indian TV screens but decided against it as it felt that pay television revenues were not worth the effort and that the market had not matured enough for tiered television. Then a year ago it announced that it would not like to miss out on the Indian market which was growing rapidly. And hence dialogue commenced once again. Disney has a cursory presence in India with branded programming blocks on DD, Zee TV, among others. Disney is looking hot once again. But who knows when it will rurn cold.

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