Star Plus believes digital is the way forward

(Hindi GEC Star Plus features in this the second of our series on what TV channels are doing in the digital and social media space)

It‘s the leader in the Hindi general entertainment space in India and has been so for the most part of the previous decade, and even this one. The Star India network, has been gung-ho on the online space, ever since one can remember like its owner Rupert Murdoch, who has had a fascination for it but confesses he does not know how to deal with it.

Star India took a big punt when it acquired the much-touted way back in 2001, coughing up a hefty $50 million in buying it. It has since not known what to do with it. Just like Murdoch failed to fathom what the group could do with, finally selling it out cheap.

Star India‘s fiasco looks unlikely to be repeated today. CEO Uday Shankar is quite clear on that and a crack team at the media giant has been working overtime to engage with its viewers.

"We have leveraged the platform of digital, our various digital assets and the power of broadcast integration to drive deeper multi-screen engagement and conversations," says Star India marketing & communications executive vice president Gayatri Yadav.

"Having an engaged audience that can interact with the brand is a very meaningful goal. This helps us build loyalty for the characters and the brand, develop interest in new launches and of course acts as a great influencer for new audiences to sample the on air content. The engaged audience base also acts as a great feedback mechanism for our content."

Star India marketing & communications executive vice president Gayatri Yadav

Star has been innovative in actively energising, featuring and interacting with audiences with powerful integration of online with on-screen content. All the key show launches and events now have at least one element of live engagement with the viewers. Auditions, which were earlier only limited to on-ground activities, have further been extended to the digital platform, reveals Yadav.

In terms of video content that it uploads, Star Plus broadly classifies it into long form and short form, catch-up content, web exclusives, promos and legacy. For platforms like YouTube the channel‘s approach has been to upload short form catch-up content, which it says has been very well received. Its own video platforms have long form catch up content, along with some marquee legacy shows. and Star Player ( are among the two-owned platforms that it uses to encourage users to engage with the channel and download content. Data on how many downloads the Star Player app has achieved was not available at the time of writing but its Facebook page had received 93,000 likes or so.

Star Plus constantly keeps on updating pictures and videos of its shows on their website

Star Plus constantly keeps on updating pictures and videos of its shows on these websites. Star, however, does not upload an episode within a couple of hours of its telecast. Besides, it uses textual and image content like daily recaps, show highlights, trivia and polls to interact with and engage the visitor.

Apart from internet based platforms, Star Plus also leverages the reach of the voice platform through SPOM (Star Plus on Mobile – 5057827). Through its voice portal Star Plus on Mobile, the channel runs audio recaps of the daily shows, daily diaries, and voice blogs of popular characters and also title tracks of the shows.

Star Plus uses the mobile platform to leverage it‘s content

With live engagement being one of the significant elements, Star has Plus has created applications for Apple, Blackberry, Android and Nokia through which people could interact, chat with the judges and read blogs while watching shows such as ‘MasterChef India‘.

For some of its marquee shows like ‘Nach Baliye‘ and ‘MasterChef India‘, Star Plus has leveraged the transmedia storytelling route - where the main show has a strong storytelling leg running exclusively on digital platforms which link back meaningfully to the main show.

Apart from this, the channel has showcased its content on the digital platform through initiatives like the web premiere of ‘Saraswatichandra‘ exclusively for digital audiences. Page 1 2

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