afaqs!

STAR and Balaji JV still on, awaiting government approvals

By , agencyfaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | March 18, 2008
STAR claims to have applied already to the government for licences for the STAR-Balaji joint venture to launch regional channels in South India

Executives & #BANNER1 & # from STAR and Balaji Telefilms claim to have sorted out matters for the STAR-Balaji joint venture for regional South Indian channels. Under the deal, STAR and Balaji were to launch the first regional channel in the first quarter of 2008. But for reasons that could not be ascertained, the launch was delayed and tension began brewing between the two companies.

STAR claims to have applied already to the government for licences for the channels, including in Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. The Telugu channel is expected to be launched as soon as the government formalities are completed, but this could take up to three more months. STAR executives state that the delay in launching the channels is mostly because of the stringent government processes.

Balaji executives confirm that STAR has applied for the licences. They say that the partnership with STAR will continue. Balaji is currently working on a number of new shows for STAR. STAR and Balaji hold a stake of 51 per cent and 49 per cent, respectively, in the joint venture, which has not been given a name as yet.

agencyfaqs! has learnt from its sources that Balaji has had other issues with STAR in the past. Balaji had approached STAR to telecast its first TV awards show, the Global Indian TV Awards. It had hoped to make a success of the awards show with the high viewership that STAR enjoys. However, it seems STAR refused to air Balaji's awards show because it was already airing the Indian Television Academy (ITA) awards. The ITA awards show aired on STAR in December 2007. Balaji ultimately chose 9X as its partner for the Global Indian TV Awards show, which was aired on March 1.

Balaji has a contract with STAR that does not allow the production house to air its shows on other channels at the same time as STAR during prime time. Therefore, Kya Dil Mai Hai, a show on 9X which was meant to be a daily at 9.30pm, had to be shifted to a weekend slot because it was clashing with STAR's Kasturi.

More than 50 per cent of Balaji's revenue comes from STAR. Out of the 11 shows that Balaji has on air currently, six are on STAR: Karam Apna Apna, Kasturi, Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki, Kyunki… Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kayamat and Kis Desh Mai Hai Mera Dil.

agencyfaqs! had earlier reported that STAR was planning to expand its regional reach and launch regional channels in Gujarat, Maharashtra and West Bengal. These channels do not fall under the STAR-Balaji joint venture. STAR's Marathi general entertainment channel is expected to go on air in less than three months.