the last four months, STAR's presence in the Mumbai market seemed to be low key. While many new entertainment channels such as UTV Bindass, 9X and NDTV Imagine made announcements about their entry in the market, STAR India during this period has been concentrating largely on the regional markets in the country.
Prem Kamath, vice-president, marketing, STAR India, informs that in the past four months STAR has launched only fiction shows. These include shows such as Sangam, Santaan and Bidaai. The fiction market for STAR is much bigger in the regional areas compared to Mumbai. Mumbai represents only 16 per cent of STAR's viewers. Regional areas in Uttar Pradesh (UP), Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Punjab combined together make up for 35-40 per cent of STAR's viewers.
STAR will be ending the final season of Nach Baliye this weekend. The Saturday 8 pm slot for the programme will be replaced by a mythological serial 'Jai Maa Durga' from next week. For the Friday 8 pm slot Nach Baliye will run two episodes for the next two weeks inviting participants from previous episodes. STAR plans to launch a new reality show after two weeks, the details of which were unavailable. STAR will also end Kasauti Zindagi Ki by mid Jan 2008 and replace it by another fiction show from Balaji.
To expand its reach in the regional areas, STAR India will launch Telugu, Bengali, Marathi and Gujarati entertainment channels. Regional channels account for 65 per cent viewer-ship in Hyderabad market. Sources say that of all regional channels, STAR first plans to launch the Telugu GEC for the Andhra market of which Hyderabad will form a crucial association. The launch of this channel will happen in next four months time.
STAR which is also present in the television news segment in the form of MCCS, which owns STAR News is already addressing the viewers in Bengali and Marathi markets. These include STAR Ananda (Bengali) and STAR Majha (Marathi). STAR has made its presence in the Tamil Nadu GEC market, with STAR Vijay, where regional channels account for 80 per cent viewership. However plans to launch GECs for the Bengali, Marathi and Gujarati markets remain in the pipeline and will materialise only in a year's time. Some of the current players in the Bangla entertainment segment include Eenadu, ZEE Bangla, Aakash Bangla and Doordarshan's DD7.