STAR, Jupiter Entertainment form JV

By Sumantha Rathore , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing
Last updated : November 17, 2008
The joint venture means a broader reach for STAR in the South Indian market


two heavyweights join hands, it is bound to create waves. STAR Network, the media and entertainment company, and Jupiter Entertainment Ventures, Rajeev Chandrasekhar's media and entertainment development company, have announced a joint venture (JV) called STAR Jupiter Entertainment Television. STAR Jupiter will cater to the South Indian market.

STAR has a majority stake in the venture. STAR Jupiter will be a majority shareholder of Asianet Communications Ltd (ACL). ACL's channels such as Suvarna (Kannada), Sitara (Telugu) and Asianet and Asianet Plus (Malayalam), till now a part of the Jupiter Group, will come under the new venture. STAR Vijay, a Tamil general entertainment channel operated and owned by STAR, will also come under the new entity.

A spokesperson for STAR, in a conversation with afaqs!, says, "With the increasing fragmentation in television, it was the right move for us. Before this JV, we had just one South Indian language channel, and we wanted to expand. With this venture, we'll have a broader reach in the market. However, there are many things to be taken care of at the moment, such as government regulations and other formalities. Once they are completed, within three-four months, the JV will come into effect."

All the channels will continue with their old names. In the future, they may share content, too. STAR expects to make additional investments from this initiative to develop and launch new channels in South India in the coming months.

The management team of the ACL will not be tampered with as a result of the JV. K Madhavan, vice-chairman and managing director, ACL, and others will continue in their roles. Madhavan is the man behind establishing Asianet's presence beyond India in West Asia, the UK, the US and Southeast Asia.

In an official statement, Paul Aiello, chief executive officer, STAR Network, says, "This is a game-changing partnership for STAR. It allows us to connect deeply with the rapidly growing South Indian audience by providing compelling television that truly resonates with the viewers. By adding the South Indian channels to our extensive portfolio of Hindi and regional language channels, STAR takes a big step towards becoming a truly national broadcaster in India."

K Sanjay Prabhu, official spokesperson, Jupiter Entertainment, tells afaqs!, "After acquiring Asianet in 2006 and our subsequent launches, only the Tamil language was left to be covered by us. An organic entry into the Tamil Nadu market would have been tough because of the Sun Network's strong presence there. But now, we cover all four states of South India and will surely give Sun formidable competition."

Jupiter Entertainment also has a fortnightly magazine (Bengaluru Pages), international and vernacular radio stations (Radio Indigo and Best FM, respectively) and interests in digital media.

Uday Shankar, chief executive officer, STAR India, says in an official communiqué, "With this strategic partnership, we should be able to capture a good growth opportunity and create a much bigger platform for creative talent that will offer South India a lot more exciting content. The partnership also offers an exciting opportunity to those advertisers who are looking at nationwide reach vehicles and to reinforce this with strong regional channels."

Both the media houses are also exploring a wide range of new areas of cooperation, including film co-production by Fox STAR Studios India and Indigo Movies, Jupiter Entertainment's movie production arm.

First Published : November 17, 2008
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