So much of twists and turns at Star India at the moment with its integration into the media and entertainment Godfather Disney underway. In a recent development as on Thursday as president 21st Century Fox, Asia and chairman and CEO of Star India Uday Shankar was named chairman Star and Disney India, and president The Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific as part of an international business unit restructuring.
Another interesting twist that has taken place at Star India is the bet it has taken to adopt a digital-only approach in the key US market. Starting 5 January, Star India’s TV channels will be streaming only on Hotstar in the US. The entire Star India network, including Star Plus, Star Gold, Star Vijay, Maa, Asianet and Movies OK, will no longer be available on any cable TV provider in the US including Dish TV, Sling TV, Comcast, Verizon.
While Star is the first to do so, others will eventually follow suit, an industry expert told us on the condition of anonymity, adding that the decision makes ‘complete sense’ tuning into the current US market scenario.Star’s decision would eventually deliver a huge boost to its international OTT arm by driving up its subscriber base.
Earlier this year, a study predicted that the number of people to go off cable in the US would climb to 33 million adults in 2018.
“However, while we have gone ahead with a digital-only approach in the US, in other markets, we believe that the powerful combination of linear TV and digital streaming provides a robust entertainment experience to consumers,” the spokesperson added.
Apart from Star India channels streaming on its OTT platform, properties like the Indian Premier League (IPL) are likely to be available on cable TV through their partner Fox network
While Star’s super streamer in India is way ahead of its rivals, the move to go digital-only is bound to help it in gaining ground against Netflix and Amazon Prime in the US, in addition to saving the company high maintenance costs of running a television network.
Need to see the waters to settle and how the Star India will turn in the numbers.