Posted: 23 November 2005 at 8:38am
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Star to seriously think about regional strategy in India
(Tuesday, Nov 22, 2005 - 07:00 pm)
In an interview to Media Partners Asia (MPA), Star Group CEO Michelle Guthrie said the company needed "to seriously think about a regional strategy in India ... we are looking at strategies based around our existing content."
Talking specific of some channels within the Star bouquet, she said that Star One, a general entertainment chanrnel targeted at younger audiences is "starting to work and build on the leadership position we have with Star Plus, but it still has a long way to go". Star One is beginning to challenge rivals Zee TV and Sony in terms of audience share, and in certain metros, has surpassed both, she said.
Driven by the success of shows such as "The Great Indian Laughter Challenge", Star One has grown its market share from 7 per cent in 2004 to 27 per cent in Q3 2005, versus 42 per cent for Sony and 31 per cent for Zee. The channel aims to overtake both Sony and Zee by end-2005, she said.
As for Star Gold, Guthrie said that the channel was "gaining strength in India" with the shifting of Hindi movies from Plus to Gold, resulting in re-branding of the channel as a destination for premium Hindi films.
But, Guthrie said, Star is a bit "wary about the lack of advertising in the regional markets (in India)" as pricing power is limited and the overall pie remains small. "We are still constrained by the fact that TV ad spend (in India) is only 0.20 per cent of GDP," she explained. We're still constrained by the fact that TV ad spend (in India) is only 0.20 per cent of GDP," she explained.
Though Guthrie said that there "should be at least some level of exclusivity, otherwise it (would) seriously distort the market for programming" when asked about the must-provide clause in India, she also indicated negotiations have been going on with Dish TV, 20 per cent owned by Zee Telefilms, for providing Star's channels.
"We've been negotiating with Dish TV for a long time. The issue is not about first mover advantage (in other words, we sign an agreement for our channels only when Tata Sky launches), but more about our concerns over their conditional access and subscriber management systems and piracy," Guthrie said.
As already reported by Televisionpoint.com, Star Group's turnover during Q1 FY 2006 ending September grew by 22 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y), driven primarily by advertising revenue of Kaun Banega Crorepati-2 in Star Plus.
According to Hong Kongbased publishing and research firm Media Partners Asia's estimates for Q1 FY 2006 showed that Star India turnover could grow by 26 per cent y-o-y to $378 million.