Rupert & James Murdoch to host PM Narendra Modi in New York

MUMBAI: Media baron 21st Century Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch along with his son and CEO of the company James Murdoch, will host Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York.


The Murdochs - Modi rendezvous will also be attended by senior executives from Fox including News Corp CEO Robert Thomson, Star India CEO Uday Shankar and a selective group of peers from media and entertainment companies.


Known for his powerful international image and charismatic personality, Modi is expected to lay solid ground for further propagation of brand India through this high profile gathering of world media heads.


It may be recalled that earlier in March, the media world was taken in a frenzy when 21st Century Fox CEO (then COO) James Murdoch along with Shankar met Modi in Delhi.


The Murdochs hosting Modi doesn’t come as a surprise given the important role Star India is playing in Fox’s revenues and reach internationally. As was reported earlier by, global brokerage company Morgan Stanley valued Star India at $11.2 billion earlier this year. Following the report, Fox chief financial officer John Nallen was also heard pitching high hopes on Star India for the global network’s growth. “The top opportunity continues to be international, led by Star. Star clearly is going to lead a lot of our international growth,” he had said.


Nallen had further added that the parent company expects Star India's growth to contribute $500 million by 2018.


This indicates how the Murdochs have advocated higher foreign direct investment (FDI) ceilings in India's media industry and are keen to expand their presence in the country. A case in point is Star India’s acquisition of Maa TV’s broadcast assets earlier this year.


During his US trip, Modi will also visit Silicon Valley giant Facebook followed by a meeting with Google’s Indian born CEO Sundar Pichai, and Apple CEO Tim Cook.


“I’m excited to announce that Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India will be visiting Facebook HQ later this month for a Townhall Q&A,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who had earlier sent an open invitation to the Indian Prime Minister to visit Facebook’s headquarters. “Prime Minister Modi and I will discuss how communities can work together to address social and economic challenges…. The event will be on Sunday, September 27 at 9:30 a.m. pacific time,” he later added to the post.


Modi too took to Facebook to share his excitement of visiting the tech giant’s HQ, and to chalk out the agenda for the meeting. “I thank Mr. Mark Zuckerberg for the invite to visit the Facebook HQ. The interaction will cover a wide range of issues and will surely be a memorable one.”


On Sunday, Modi added, “I will also see some recent technological innovations at the Google (Alphabet) campus and Tesla Motors.”


His final post - “It would be after a gap of almost 33 years that an Indian PM would be visiting the west coast — the home of start-ups, innovation and technology,” - rightly reflects the overall expectations India media has from his visit to the US.

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