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Star TV nears breakeven riding on KBC

By , agencyfaqs! | In | December 01, 2000
Riding on the unprecedented success of its prime-time gameshow Kaun Banega Crorepati, Star TV hopes to break even sooner than the 2002 target it had set for itself in India

agencyfaqs! News Bureau
NEW DELHI, December 1
Riding high on the unprecedented success of its prime-time gameshow Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC), Star TV has revised its breakeven projections. The Rupert Murdoch-controlled channel now hopes to break even sooner than the 2002 target it had set for itself in India.
KBC, which generates a gross advertising revenue close to Rs 20 million every episode with 10 minutes of ads per show, "is the main reason for this optimism", a company official told reporters on Thursday. He added that media baron and promoter of Star, Rupert Murdoch, has admitted as much at the latest annual general meeting of News Corporation, of which Star TV is a subsidiary.
Star TV's Indian officials said the ad rates of each spot on KBC have been hiked from the earlier Rs 2 lakh per 10 seconds to Rs 3 lakh currently. However, the total time devoted to advertising on the programme has been maintained at 10 minutes.
A star official added that the show generates gross revenue of Rs 15 million per episode. From the 84 episodes of KBC that have been aired until now, the channel has earned a total revenue of over Rs 1,260 million from KBC alone.
In India, Star TV has a bouquet of channels including Star Plus, Star News, Star Movies, Star Gold, Star World and National Geographic besides the Star Sports-ESPN joint venture. A Mumbai-based official of Star TV added that the channel's India arm has already broken even on its operating costs.
"The Indian arm NTVi started out as a sales agent for Star TV. Now it is handling production and commissioning of programmes as well. And NTVi earns about 15 per cent of Star TV's total revenue generation in India. Given that, we could safely say that we have started making money. However, there are several other costs involved like the transponder costs, the uplinking costs etc that entail huge expenses. Which is why overall breakeven is likely to take longer," he said.
Revenue generation by KBC has kept pace with the dramatic viewership increase the programme has enjoyed since its debut in July this year. According to market research agency AC Nielsen, Star TV led the viewership chart with 31.1 per cent audience share in the week ending November 11. This represented an almost 27 times increase over the measly 1.2 per cent share in the pre-KBC June-July period this year.
The survey covered nine cities, tracking four days from Monday through Thursday each week in the 9.00 pm - 9.59 pm prime time slot for all cable category (in the four-plus age group) of audience.
During the same period, however, Subhash Chandra-controlled Zee TV slipped from the predominant position it had in the pre-KBC weeks. Its share came down from 13.1 per cent to 11.7 per cent in the week ending November 11, according to AC Nielsen. During the same period, Sony Entertainment Television also slipped - from 9.5 per cent audience share in the pre-KBC days to 7.1 per cent in the week ending November 11.

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