Media baron Rupert Murdoch-led 21st Century Fox is betting big on its subsidiary Star India to drive its growth going forward.
“In India we believe Star will contribute greatly to our future growth. Over the last 12 months, Star expanded its well-established leadership position in general entertainment, moving aggressively into the sports market with Star Sports, which is seeing exciting growth,” executive chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch said in the company’s annual report.
Star India, which is a fully-owned subsidiary of 21st Century Fox, broadcasts over 40 channels in seven languages, reaching over 720 million every week across 100 countries.
The US-based media conglomerate had earlier said it expected Star to achieve an EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation) of USD 500 million by 2018 and an operating income of USD 1 billion by 2020.
The executive chairmen said the ICC Cricket World Cup tournament on Star Sports earlier this year marked India’s largest television event ever with hundreds of millions of viewers.
“Star is also expanding its entertainment reach with the acquisition of the Telegu-language network group MAA Television Network, adding to Star’s portfolio its eighth language and one of the largest regional markets,” they said.
The Telugu television market is estimated to be around Rs 2,000-crore, making it the second-largest regional TV market in terms of revenue in the country.
According to a recent Ficci-KPMG report, regional channels accounted for 23.3 per cent viewership in 2014, and Telugu channels account for 24 per cent of this.
Besides, the company expects Star’s digital platform Hotstar to gain momentum from the digital transformation.
“In February, Star launched its online entertainment destination Hotstar, which drew more than 20 million downloads in four months and firmly positions us to benefit from the digital transformation in the world’s fastest growth market,” the executive chairmen said.