STAR India and Digital Entertainment Networks (DEN) have formed a 50:50 joint venture, ‘STAR Den Media Services’, to create a platform for distributing television channels in India through cable, DTH, IPTV, HITS and MMDS.
Under the agreement, the joint venture will be an exclusive distributor for STAR India for all channels distributed domestically by the Network. It will also seek to expand its bouquet offerings by including third party channels for distribution.
Uday Shankar, CEO, STAR India, said, “It is an important growth initiative in the distribution platform business and enables us to better harness the growth opportunity. We are pleased to tie up with a group of professionals who we find are strategically aligned to our vision of this business and its growth prospects.”
When asked whether a CEO has been identified for the venture, Shankar said, “We are looking at a few candidates right now, and we would be able to take a call on that soon.”
Speaking further on the alliance, Sameer Manchanda, Promoter and Chairman of DEN, said, “DEN is excited to join forces with India’s richest content provider in building an independently-run and robust channel distribution platform. Our vision is to incorporate world’s best practices to create a platform of premium content, which adds value to the entire distribution chain. We feel this joint venture presents a compelling opportunity to all content providers. It combines professional management, domain knowledge and compelling content to provide world class products and services to the Indian consumers.”
DEN is promoted by Manchanda, an industry veteran with over 20 years’ experience in media and channel distribution, with Raghav Behl (Promoter and Managing Director of Network18 Group) as the founder member. DEN’s leadership team also includes CEO Anuj Gandhi and President S N Sharma, who have been associated with the distribution industry for more than 10 years.
In addition to STAR channels, STAR India also has distribution deals with Walt Disney Television India and Times Global Broadcasting. At a time, when channels are increasing in India, in the manner that we see today, distribution would be a very important game. A neutral distribution body should allow more names to come in STAR-DEN fold.