Star India and Maa Television Network today announced a deal under which Star India will acquire the broadcast business of Maa Television Network. The Maa Television Network which has four channels – Maa general entertainment, Maa Gold, Maa Music and Maa Cinema is one of largest players in the Telugu market. The deal is estimated to be around Rs.2,500 crore according to media reports and will give Star access into a Rs.2,000-crore Telugu television market which is the second largest in the regional space in terms of revenue potential.
This is a market where Star has a very limited presence till date. By buying Maa Television Network, which is one of the leading broadcast networks in Telugu language content, it can leverage its strong trajectory of growth driven by fiction content and movies. It is looked at the best way for Star to expand its reach in the regional space. It already has its presence in other regional markets such as Kerala, Bengal and Karnataka. Not only will Star now be able to tap into local advertising revenue from the Andhra Pradesh market, but it will also enable them to offer advertisers from the national space to target the local Telugu market. As Star India CEO Uday Shankar said, “The acquisition fills a vital gap in our portfolio allowing our advertisers targeted access to a critical market.”
Star India is also to growing its sports business at a faster than ever pace. This acquisition will allow it to broadcast all its sports properties to the market in the local language like it does in other regional markets. This brings in additional revenues from these markets. Star India is already broadcasting the ICC World Cup 2015 in 6 different languages in India.
For Maa TV Network it was a way for them to get the support of national network rather than being a standalone player. This will enable it to compete much better against competitors such as Zee Telugu from the ZEEL bouquet, Gemini which is part of Sun TV Network and ETV Telugu part of Viacom18 network. “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,” said Nimmagadda Prasad, Chairman, Maa Television Network.
Maa TV Network’s promoters which consist of Prasad who holds 65% share in the company, actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi who has 20%, actor Akkineni Nagarjuna has 10% and the remaining 5% is held by retail investors. The network had turned into a profitable entity after 6-7 years and as to them selling the network despite being profitable, Prasad said they did not want to be unrealistic and that when the time came it had to be handed over to a bigger, better entity.
“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” said Prasad.