Star acquires entire Channel Nine library at a steal

Star India edged out Sony Entertainment Television in the race to acquire Channel Nine Gold's entire content library last week. Sources say Star bought out the library at about 20 per cent of its actual valuation. Unconfirmed reports peg the Nine Gold library's valuation at around Rs 120 million.

HFCL Nine may have had to bid a hasty adieu to DD Metro; but its content library has been the cynosure of rival channels' eyes ever since. Star had bought some of the Channel Nine programmes in September, after its break up with DD Metro.

Sony was also a serious bidder for the lot, but Star seems to have beaten it in this respect too. Although Star has refused to divulge the exact valuation of the deal, industry sources say the arrangement includes all the popular soaps and films made by Nine Gold during its short tenure on Doordarshan Metro. Star had bought soaps Kundali, Kabhie Souten Kabhie Saheli and The Helen Show in September after the much-hyped HFCL Nine stopped operations following Doordarshan's refusal to renew its contract with the software company. The events Star bought at the time included the series Celebrate with Music and The Madhuri Concert.

Star, which is already strong in the soap segment, is expected to further consolidate its numero uno position following the acquisition of the programmes from the Nine Gold stables, media analysts feel. The defunct TV software venture floated by Australian media mogul Kerry Packer and the HFCL group notched up heavy losses after its exit from DD, after paying Rs 121 crore to the pubcaster and spending heavily on programming and promoting its shows. DD, while agreeing to an extension of between 6 and 18 months for Channel Nine Gold, had put its foot down on other demands made by the company. This led to a break-in contract between DD and the company.

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