Star brings Gurjeev Singh Kapoor home to head distribution

MUMBAI: The industry has been abuzz about TV distribution veteran Gurjeev Singh Kapoor shifting base back to India. Well, that buzz is indeed turning out to be true. Last evening, an announcement was made in the Star India office in Mumbai stating that the London-based head of international business at the company would be leaving Blighty to come back to Bharat, a source at Star said.

Gurjeev?s return clearly indicates Star India CEO Uday Shankar?s intent to have a senior professional who understands and has solid relationships in India?s complicated distribution sector. One of the main planks of Uday being able to do well and get a return on the high prices he has agreed to cough up for the IPL for the next five years is affiliate revenues. And bringing the affable but tough-as-nails Gurjeev on board will greatly strengthen the distribution team by attracting executives from other companies and help Uday get closer to the target.

Sources in the industry at indicate that Gurjeev will also play an important role in licensing and distributing the global rights for the IPL, which Star has acquired.

Gurjeev was earlier the business head of SET Discovery and later CEO of the dissolved joint venture Star DEN Media Services. He was also the COO of Star Den-Zee Turner joint venture Media Pro before making a shift to London to look after Star?s international business.

The company had earlier this year hired a former Marico executive Sridhar Balakrishnan to head the distribution of Star?s extensive bouquet of 53 odd channels.  

Industry sources indicate that Star has been asking anywhere between a 15-30 per cent hike in revenues from distribution affiliates, signing both fixed fee and RIO aka ? la carte deals, a process that has been taking time for distribution platform operators who have been loath to agree to the hike in content costs.

Clearly, Kapoor and team should prove themselves up to the task to speed up the process. 

Please watch this space for further news.

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