The acquisition will integrate Screen awards property with Star.
Broadcast network STAR India has acquired Screen, Indian Express Ltd’s weekly publication on films. Under STAR India, Screen will be available in its digital avatar, with audio and video content adding to the textual content. The next issue of the weekly magazine, started in 1951, will be the last print edition. The acquisition will integrate the Screen Awards property with STAR, besides adding a consumer brand to the network’s digital business. As part of the transaction, STAR will get exclusive ownership of the ‘Screen’ brand franchise, including all archival material and transfer of key employees.
STARS ON SCREEN
“The Screen acquisition will yield huge benefits for STAR India and for Hotstar — our digital platform,” said Uday Shankar, chief executive officer (CEO), STAR India. “We could not be more excited.” STAR has built one of India’s largest media and entertainment organisations that reaches 700 million viewers in India and across the globe every week through 40 channels, broadcast in seven languages. STAR has scaled its multi-screen presence with Hotstar, emerging the most preferred destination for sports and entertainment online. “Screen is a strong and reputable franchise and gives us access to the entertainment editorial suite and the tinsel world, where news that shapes trends is made by film stars, directors and producers,” said Shankar, adding: “The acquisition of Screen will allow us to strengthen and expand the content brand online, while taking the awards platform to the next level. There are strong synergies and the combination of the quality content and awards franchise with STAR’s presence across television and digital platforms is strategic and scalable.” Sanjay Gupta, chief operating officer, STAR India, adds: “The Hotstar app has been well received at its launch. Having Bollywood and film-related content will give it an acceleration to reach the next level. Also, while Screen as a brand commands credibility, print is grappling with the problem of reach. Under STAR, the content from Screen will get a wider reach.” According to Gupta, research by the team at Star has showed that Bollywood content is the most consumed content online, which exceeds sports, news and general entertainment content. “We are delighted to enter into a transaction with STAR India. Screen is one of the most reputed film and entertainment properties in the country. We have built this business with a lot of passion and are confident that STAR will nurture it and take it to greater heights,” said Viveck Goenka, chairman and managing director, Indian Express Group. Speaking on the transaction, George Varghese, CEO, Indian Express, said: “Screen is one of our leading properties on the entertainment side of the business. Our decision was driven by our belief in Star’s focus to grow this business, which we believe would translate into adding value for all stakeholders, including employees.” Ashish Bhasin, CEO, Dentsu Aegis, "The best part about digital is that it offers timeliness. It is an instant medium. With print, the content stands the risk of becoming dated. Screen is a strong brand and it gives Star a very good entry point into film and entertainment content."