At the recently concluded Asia Pacific Pay-TV Operators Summit, held in Bali between 22nd – 24th April 2015, 21st Century Fox Co-Chief Operating Officer James Rupert Murdoch said he expects Star India to become a one-billion USD company in terms of operating profit by end-2020.
James Rupert Murdoch, Co-COO ��� 21st Century Fox said, “We love the India business. It has now evolved enormously from Hindi entertainment to regional language broadcasting and now we are a national platform. The sports business for us is a new pillar and we are looking at the business in a long term time frame. And if we keep innovating and investing in putting more creative and innovative content on screen, Star India will become a billion dollar EBIDTA by the turn of the decade.”
Star India CEO Uday Shankar said that media content has a huge role in shaping the sensibilities of the society and this role should not be underestimated. He added, ���I am prejudiced towards aspirational content and cynical about cynical content. This is something we have always kept in mind while creating all of our content and is the same philosophy that we are bringing to sports as well. Sports has a huge role to play in empowerment, especially in a country like India, where we need to make the society believe that even an uneducated person can aspire to something greater if he is talented in a sport. This is what has worked with Kabaddi in a big way.”
Talking about expanding its reach in the regional market, Shankar said, “India is a giant country with varied cultures and tastes. We used Asianet as a beach head for the south and elevated the quality of content dramatically with sharper storytelling, involving the best of the creative fraternity and breaking the caste divide between film and TV. For logistic reasons outsourcing production might make sense, but unless you internalize the core creative skill, you will not be able to sustain success, which is why we have built a robust internal creative team to ensure this.”
Shankar also said that its sports division was growing and was heading in the right direction, “We have applied the same philosophy that we had in our entertainment business to sports – creating content with deep local affinity using the audience aggregation power that cricket gave you. Sports broadcasting has been plagued by laziness and lack of innovation, treated merely as a distribution agent of acquired rights which is what we have tried to change with multiple local leagues. If it�۪s your team that’s playing you, even if it is not the best team, you would be deeply passionate about it. Creating a hierarchy of leagues across the country can be huge empowering phenomenon.”