Rupert Murdoch is expected to leave the India news genre later this year with a major impact on its flagship Hindi news channel, Star News.
Murdoch’s Star TV India will be selling its entire 26 per cent stake in Media Content & Communications Services (MCCS), the company that owns and operates three news channels. The joint venture between Murdoch and Ananda Bazaar Patrika (ABP) Group has been treading a rocky patch for sometime, according to sources.
“Star and ABP could split in June-July if matters are thrashed out by then as the relationship between the two partners has turned sour. It looks like ABP Group, which has 74 per cent holding in MCCS, will buy out Star۪s stake,” a source familiar with the development said.
The seperation between the two companies will result in the ‘Star’ branding removed from the Hindi, Bengali and Marathi Star News services. ABP is likely to retain the Ananda brand in Bengali while the Marathi channel may continue with the Majha title. The Hindi news channel may have a completely different name but likely to retain the “Ananda” brand that is synonyms with the company.
NDTV was earlier the sole news content provider and producer for Star News till Dr Prannoy Roy launched his own news channels in 2003. Star News had launched in its complete avatar in 2004. This was a year after MCCS was formed, followed by Star Ananda (Bengali) in June 2005 and Star Majha (Marathi) in June 2007.