"We want to use DTH to spread Information Technology": Peter Mukherjea


Peter Mukherjea can fool you. The mild-mannered former advertising executive and head of Star TV in India is actually a tiger in lamb‘s clothing. His mind is buzzing with ideas and he seems to be the right man for the job as he steers the News Corp-owned Star TV‘s forays into the converged world.He, along with Pramod Mittal and the Star TV team, were the prime planners of News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch‘s hectic iternary in India where he met up with a gaggle of industrialists and politicians of many a hue and colour in the three cities that he visited: Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai. Mukherjea spoke exclusively to Indiantelevision.com on the noon after the departure of Murdoch from India to Hongkong on what is expected from Star TV within the coming months.



What was the gist of Mr Murdoch‘s visit to India?

The key focus was investment into India. In the information technology, telecom and programming and content business. Murdoch and Star TV are very keen on these sectors, which will lead to convergence.

Why did Mr Murdoch raise the issue of DTH with information and broadcasting minister Mr Jaitley?

What DTH? We are not talking about DTH television alone. The Indian government wants India to emerge as a knowledge power and do it through information technology. Spread of IT is not possible through personal computers because they are extremely expensive and unaffordable by most. DTH will come in here to spread IT and the Internet to a large swathe of the Indian populace. We are doing it in the UK through BSkyB and we intend to do that in India too.

What about Wireless Access Protocol and delivery of content to handheld devices?

Well the mobile companies are still looking at it. It‘s expensive and G3 phones are being worked on. It‘s about three years away but that does not mean we are going to be sitting not developing content for it. We are very keen on this and want to be ready for it when it dawns.

What are the immediate changes we are going to see at Star TV as an outcome of Murdoch's visit?

No, no you will not see a production studio coming up in 30 days as is being speculated. You will see considerable investments in a Hindi movie channel and total Hindi-isation of Star Plus for starters and we will make announcements relating to the other meetings we have had in the next couple of weeks.

Are you looking at investments in cable?

We are not looking at investments in a cable company. But we are definitely interested in taking our distribution act forward.

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