STAR India’s global bosses – from Rupert Murdoch to Paul Aiello – have been clear that presence in the regional markets is priority on growth agenda for India. STAR’s move to closely follow its Bengali channel Star Jalsha and Marathi channel Star Pravah with a JV with Jupiter Entertainment that owns the Asianet brands for the South region, has given STAR a quick access to the media scene in the south market.
Industry leaders have said that even though this still means that STAR Jupiter would need to crack three of the four South markets – Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, it has helped STAR to skip the launch stage, and directly get on the consolidation one. Now, STAR India also has leadership position in Kerala, modest presence in Tamil Nadu and a beginner’s step in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
STAR India is finally at par with the likes of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) in terms of brand presence, and hence, is suddenly more attractive in the national media plans.
In a conversation with exchange4media, Uday Shankar, CEO, STAR India, said that with this, STAR had managed a significant pan-India presence. He said, “We are now present in every important market of the country. Markets like the South, and even Maharashtra, have a high rate of economic growth, and the businesses there will grow in an intensive manner. And we are working at strengthening our presence in these markets.”
Shankar is of the opinion that STAR is now in a position to make a “strong offering to all advertisers”. He said, “There is a layer of national coverage that could even be duplicated in the region. That is the opportunity we have and the exact benefit of that would really depend on how much we can build on our presence from here.”
Industry leaders have said that the next wave of growth would come from the regional markets. Local languages have gained strength over the last few years, and viewers are more comfortable today in watching channels in their languages. ZEEL was the first player to have spotted and respected that shift and already has a strong bouquet that offers channels in various languages. STAR India, with STAR Jupiter, is in that league too now. The question is whether STAR can successfully leverage this position now and become a strong contender across India.
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