Rupert Murdoch begins 1st leg of India visit in Mumbai

MUMBAI / NEW DELHI: It's been five years since media mogul Rupert Murdoch last visited India, and much has changed in the interim. The biggest of course being that the Star network, a distant number three in 2000, is today India's most powerful broadcast network by a good distance.


And as Murdoch's private Boeing 737 jetliner landed at Mumbai's Sahar International airport this afternoon on the first leg of his India visit, the question doing the rounds is - what are the new challenges he has charted out for what is undoubtedly the jewel in Newscorp's Asian crown.

BARON HAS LANDED: Newscorp chairman Rupert Murdoch looks around just before entering the hotel he's putting up in while in Mumbai.

Murdoch, who was whisked from his plane into a waiting Mercedes limousine provided by the Taj Group of Hotels (owned by the Tata Group, which is partnering Star in the soon-to-launch Rs 16 billion DTH project Space TV), was immediately driven down to the Taj Mahal Hotel in south Mumbai.

A convoy of vehicles that included all the top guns of the Asian team, including Star Group CEO Michelle Guthrie, Star India CEO Peter Mukerjea and COO Sameer Nair, were part of the entourage that accompanied the still sharp as nails 75-year-old media magnate to the Taj.


Murdoch has a packed schedule in his five-day trip during which he is also expected to review Star’s businesses in India, of which the key issue will likely be the Tata-Star DTH project.

INDIA SMILING: Newscorp chairman Rupert Murdoch seems to have something to smile about. Is it over the way his Indian operations have been performing?

Before Murdoch flies out of India on Wednesday night, a series of meetings are scheduled with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Information & broadcast minister Jaipal Reddy, as too others among the top echelons of government.

But before all that, Murdoch will be spending Sunday meeting the heads of India operations at the Star India headquarters in Mahalaxmi in Central Mumbai. He flies to Delhi tomorrow evening where he will spend the remainder of his India tour.

Murdoch is scheduled to meet some of the top editors of newspapers over breakfast during his Delhi stay.

Another issue that is likely to crop up in his meetings with his Star team --- and will, unless Murdoch changes his mind --- is whether to make the South Indian foray in partnership with the biggest player there, Sun TV group, or independently.

The latter would mean taking on Sun TV and the politically-connected Maran family that controls various media ventures down south, including cable, broadcasting and print.

It is learnt that the Indian operation of Star has some thoughts on the South Indian foray, but much would depend on how Murdoch views the whole thing. According to earlier plans, he was not scheduled to meet Kalanidhi Maran of Sun Tv group, but may drop some hints on doing business together to Kalanidhi’s brother, Dayanidhi, who’s a minister of communication in the present government in Delhi.

Radio FM and TV news are the other two segments where Murdoch’s views would shape the future course of action for Star. Having got out of the radio business, Star is definitely trying to shake off perceptions that it’s taking the Indian rules and regulations for granted. While on the news front, it needs to be seen whether the present association with the Kolkata–based ABP Group would be extended to other news products, like the proposed Bengali channel. Probably, this uncertainty has held back Media Content & Communications Services Ltd, a joint venture company that manages Star News, from applying yet for uplink permission for the Bengali news channel.

A hectic timetable no doubt. That is of course why Murdoch travels everywhere with his personal trainer. To ensure the media maven remains shipshape and does not lose that competitive edge.

Latest Reads
Discovery bags nine sponsors for Battle Ops

Battle Ops, Discovery Communications India’s (DCIN) integrated television and digital offering, has received a resounding response from the advertiser community. The show, which will premiere on Discovery Channel and Veer on 26th January, has already sold out with nine sponsors on board.

Television TV Channels Specialised and Niche
Splash and assemblage entertainment begin production on norm of the north sequel

Assemblage Entertainment, the feature-film focused CGI animation studio has begun production on the sequel of 2016 theatrical feature film Norm of the North, along with Splash Entertainment, Lionsgate and Dream Factory In many first-of-its times, it is unprecedented that an independent animated...

Television Production House Film Production
Vijendra Singh, Indian Boxing Champion associates with Pokerbaazi, one of India’s pioneer online poker platforms has signed Vijender Singh as its new brand ambassador. Prior to roping in Indian professional boxer, Indian film star, actor, and model, Sunny Leone was the face of the brand. By roping in boxing champion Vijeder Singh as its brand...

Television TV Channels Sports
COLORS INFINITY serves an intoxicating concoction of bollywood Besties, Gossip, Games

Make Saturday nights your date night with some of your favorite Bollywood best-friends, as COLORS INFINITY brings to you the latest season of the popular homegrown chat show Jeep presents BFFs with Vogue powered by Motorola and beauty partner, starting Saturday January 20, 2018 at 8pm on...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
Experience first-hand India's historic Military Operation in a gripping new documentary

On 18 September 2016, four Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists attacked an Indian Army Garrison in the town of Uri, Jammu and Kashmir. 19 Indian soldiers were martyred in the Fidayeen attack. Eleven days later

Television Production House Fiction
578 players to go under the hammer for IPL auction

The much-anticipated VIVO IPL 2018 player auction list is out with 578 players up for grabs. This big pool of cricketers, which comprises 360 Indians, will go under the hammer in Bengaluru on 27 and 28 January, 2018.

Television TV Channels Sports
BARC panel tampering: first arrests made

The Cyber Crime Police in Bengaluru, acting on a complaint filed by the Broadcast Research Council of India (BARC), has arrested five people allegedly for trying to tamper with the television viewership data generated and reported by BARC every week.

Television TV Channels Viewership
Cautious investments serve MTV Beats well

MUMBAI: When digital media made it easy for people to listen to songs anywhere anytime, it sounded like the death knell for music channels on TV. Years later, however, they continue to survive.

Television TV Channels Music and Youth
Comedy Central sets pace for ultimate celebration with over 100 hours of non-stop FRIENDS ultra marathon for its 6th birthday

Birthdays and New Years are great occasions to make resolutions for participating in marathons. However, this is one marathon which calls for hanging up your running shoes and grabbing the best spot in front of the telly with a bowl of munchies to keep you going because, for the first time ever in...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories