Television

Star India acquires broadcast business of Maa TV

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MUMBAI: Star India has acquired the broadcasting business of Maa Television Network. The company operates four Telugu channels namely - Maa TV (Telugu general entertainment channel), Maa Music (music channel), Maa Movies (movie channel) and Maa Gold (youth channel) - which offer an opportunity for creative content innovation in the Telugu television market.

Pertinent to note here is that in 2007 Star had inked a joint venture with Balaji Telefilms to enter the Telugu market. Plans were to float a separate company for a Telugu language channel. However, the JV between the two companies ended in 2008. Star has now finally made its entry by acquiring the broadcast business of Maa TV, which industry sources peg at approximately Rs 1000 crore.

Also interesting to note is that in 2012, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) had entered into a strategic deal with Maa Television Network to pick up a 30 per cent stake, which however didn?t see the light of day. Nonetheless negotiations were on between the two companies and it seems as if Star has now pipped Sony in the acquisition race.

The acquisition will give Star India access to the highly attractive Telugu TV market (the second largest regional market in India in terms of revenue potential), where it has a very limited presence till date. Maa Television Network is the number one broadcast network in Telugu language content and has a strong trajectory of growth driven by fiction content and movies.

The strategic deal will come into effect upon complying with the necessary regulatory formalities and the broadcast business of Maa TV will be integrated with the business of Star India, once the policies and procedures in the acquired broadcast business of Maa TV are aligned with those at Star India.

With the expansion into the Telugu market Star looks to continue its tradition of innovation in content, building on the strong track record established by the team at Maa Television Network.

?The Telugu market is an important market however the pace of innovation has been slow. We are keen to change this by acquiring a local presence and fundamentally changing the content quality paradigm. We were very impressed by the solid creative core and quality and depth of the management team at Maa Television Network. In a short span of time they have built a leading business which is poised to take the next leap. The acquisition fills a vital gap in our portfolio allowing our advertisers targeted access to a critical market,? said Star India CEO Uday Shankar.

?The strategic decision to align with Star India and be part of a global media group will be a big leap in our efforts to take the Maa TV Network to the next level and strengthen the positioning of Maa brand in the entertainment industry. Star?s leadership in Indian media and entertainment industry and its parent company?s proven expertise in media business on global scale will enable Maa to offer more innovative, rich and differentiated entertainment content to the Telugu Diaspora worldwide,? added Maa Television Network chairman Nimmagadda Prasad.

?We see a lot of synergies and complementary strengths emanating from the strategic deal and it will be a win-win proposition for Maa and Star. Telugu TV viewers will stand to gain significantly from this initiative through greater access to a wide variety of qualitative entertainment content,? Prasad concluded.

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