Is Star UK going free on Sky Digital?

Raj Baddhan

Senior Editor

Star UK - big announcement? What is it?
Star UK - big announcement? What is it?

Since BizAsia published a story about Star TV UK making a “historical announcement” imminently, the industry has been abuzz with speculation.

The biggest and the strongest rumour doing the rounds is that Star TV’s four channels will go completely free-to-air in the coming weeks. At the moment, Star Plus, Star Gold, Life Ok and Star News are available as part of Sky’s monthly subscription. However, BizAsia understands that the network’s distribution contract with Sky has been up for renewal and negotiations have been ongoing to find the best way forward for the network in UK.

As well as negatives, a change like this maybe positive as it will be completely independent of Sky. The biggest drawback will be the network’s huge support from Sky, which it generates from the monthly Sky subscription.

If Star’s four channels do go free then it will fill the gap left vacant by Imagine Dil Se, which is closing down in the coming weeks. Star Plus faced competition from Imagine Dil Se in the BARB ratings (official viewing data). However, the move to go free when the Star Plus is already number one in the UK and Star Gold is the most watched paid movie channel – doesn’t make sense – as it is leading the market.

Other rumours doing the rounds include the network announcing its HD channels – Star Plus HD and Star Gold HD – but these as “historical” announcements will be somewhat of a damp squib as this has already been announced by the network at Star’s 10th UK anniversary last year.

Other less buzzing rumours doing the rounds include Star TV buying Imagine TV from the Turner group and Star TV launching its own bouquet of channels including third-party to compete with ZEE and VIEWASIA.

Whilst the network is keeping hush about the announcement until all legalities have adhered to, it is not stopping gossipmongers from speculating what this announcement will entail of.

According to the latest tweet by Rajan Singh, Executive Vice President of Star TV International, an official announcement is expected by this weekend. Furthermore, he added that Saturday 7th July and Tuesday 10th July will be “key dates” for Star UK.

Keep it with BizAsia for the announcement.