DON'T MIND WHO REALLY RUNS THE DTH PLATFORM"
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.
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
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
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: 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
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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