With Fox Deal, Comcast and Disney Wish Upon a Star in India

MUMBAI:  As Walt Disney Company and Comcast Corporation gear up for a possible bidding war over a big chunk of 21st Century Fox, both companies are interested in Fox?s Hollywood franchises The Simpsons, Avatar and X-Men.

But it is learnt that among the most desired asset is Indian media conglomerate Star India, which is fully owned by Fox.

While neither Comcast or Disney have a big presence in India, each view Star India as an important piece in their plans to challenge Netflix and tap growth in emerging markets. 

Star India reaches 700 million customers a month in India, with 60 channels in nine different languages and owns rights to broadcast popular cricket tournaments along with a stake in a production company that makes Bollywood movies. Perhaps its biggest selling point now is Hotstar that has around 150 million active monthly users.

Star India CEO Uday Shankar thinks that with this, Hotstar is setting the agenda for the future.

Wall Street research firm MoffettNathanson estimated Star will make EBITDA of $826 million by 2020, which will be a 91per cent jump from this fiscal year. Fox, which had $7.17 billion in adjusted operating income on $28.5 billion in revenue in its most recent fiscal year, has said it believes Star will earn $1 billion in EBITDA by 2020.

Cable giant Comcast said last month that it is in the advanced stages of preparing a rival, all-cash bid.

The assets for sale include the 20th Century Fox film and television studio, various cable networks and Fox?s stake in the streaming service Hulu. But among the most compelling assets?especially for Comcast?are the international ones, Star India and Fox?s interest in European pay-TV operator.

Buying Star would come with some risks. Sports rights deals, if they follow the course of the U.S. and Europe, could become much more expensive upon renewal. And there could be new competition from the telecom companies driving India?s wireless data boom, including Jio, as they start offering their users content.

Edelweiss Capital Ltd. senior vice president of research at Mumbai-based Abneesh Roy said that while user cancellations of cable and satellite TV service are plaguing the U.S. pay-TV industry, ?in India, cord-cutting is absolutely a nonissue? and pay-TV is still expanding, he added.

Over the past 10 years, Shankar has expanded Star?s distribution. It now reaches nine out of 10 Indian homes. Star?s programming includes everything from prime-time soaps to dance competitions and highlights of international sports events. It has worked to add content in languages other than Hindi and English. As the economy grew, people who spoke regional dialects had more purchasing power and more appeal for advertisers. ?Not plugging into that change would have been a loss of opportunity,? Shankar said.

It agreed last year to acquire the global TV and digital rights to India?s wildly popular annual cricket competition, the Indian Premier League, in a deal valued at $2.42 billion at current conversion rates. Star fended off a bid by Facebook Inc. for the digital rights.

Last month, 160 million people watched the final on Star TV networks and 51 million watched it on Hotstar, up from 121 million on TV and 21.6 million on Hotstar a year before.

Hotstar is geared to run on mobile devices, targeting the many people who rely on cellphones for entertainment.  ?In this country, for many people, their first experience of screen is with a mobile screen,? Shankar said.

Also Read:

Sony takes audiences to the crossroads with new show

ITV Network readies Punjabi music channel

Enterr10 to launch two Bengali channels

Latest Reads
Star Bharat brings Kaal Bhairav Rahasya 2 with a new mystery

India has had age old history associated with myths legends folklore and one of the biggest myth has been that of the curses.

Television TV Channels GECs
Industry Honchos Uday Kotak, Rajnish Kumar and Kalpana Morparia come together to identify the winners of IBLA 2019

CNBC-TV18’s most-awaited marquee property, The India Business Leaders Awards will be conducting a jury meet along with an informative and insightful panel discussion on Today at Trident BKC, Mumbai, 2:30 pm.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
News18 India Unveils Two New Shows- “Ye Desh Hai Humara” and “Akhada”

Ahead of the upcoming assembly elections in 5 states including MP & Rajasthan and general elections next year

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Zee Telugu Announces World Television Premiere of Allu Arjun starrer Naa Peru Surya

Filling this weekend with patriotism, action and drama, Zee Telugu is here with a world television premiere movie of a young man discovering himself while finding the right balance between serving his country and overcoming the hurdles thrown at him due to the power struggles in place.

Television TV Channels Regional
BTVI endeavors to increase financial literacy across India through Money Mantra

Business Television India (BTVI), India’s Premier English Business News Channel, introduces a multicity initiative - Money Mantra which is an effort to expand the financial awareness and literacy by bringing together, personal financial experts and mutual fund experts close to the common man and...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Rural markets drive Hindi GEC FTA channels

Hindi GECs or general entertainment channels draw some of the largest eyeballs across India. “My aim is to get that extra tear from the housewife’s eyes during primetime. I want to keep her riveted to my programmes, to my channel,” the head of a cluster of channels in South India once said.

Television TV Channels Viewership
Sony Marathi banks on fiction to be market leader

Regional is the hot new space for broadcasters and they have taken big bets on vernacular languages to garner higher ratings. Sony Pictures Network India (SPNI), which already has its presence in the Bengali space, saw the potential in Marathi market and made a move to launch its channel on 19...

Television TV Channels Regional
Zee Media gets permission for 4 regional news channels

After a long tenure of being strict in awarding channel licenses, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has finally become lenient. In the month of September, eight new channels received licenses while none saw their licenses cancelled as on 30 September 2018.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories