To close STAR One, launch new faster-paced channel with reduced ads.
STAR India, the country’s largest broadcasting company, will rejig its bouquet of channels with the launch of Life OK, which will offer audiences three programmes in an hour with only four minutes of advertising in that time.
As part of the revamp, the broadcaster is looking at the educational channel space and sees an opportunity in more localised and city-wise channels. It will also be investing in a big way in digital space, by creating a neutral platform where all competing broadcasters can show their content on the Net.
STAR has also decided to close STAR One, which it launched in 2004 to address a more youthful and urbane audience. It has also decided not to make any new investments as a minority stakeholder in any news channel opportunity. Speaking in an hour-long interview, Uday Shankar, CEO of STAR India, said, “STAR Plus is an aspirational channel; Life OK will be for viewers content with their life and will cut across rural and urban audiences. The name of the channel in itself is a statement.”
He said the channel, unlike STAR One, would compete directly with STAR Plus. There will be three programmes instead of the normal two, so the episodes will cater to those looking for fast-paced programming. It will also have only two minutes of advertising time in every half-hour. Shankar admits in the initial stage this would mean lower advertising revenues, but hopes to grab better TRPs (television rating points, a measure of audience-watch)and raise the advertisement rates. Third, the programming will be beamed seven days a week instead of the five-day norm. Confirming that STAR One would be closed, Shankar said: “The problem with the channel was that it was targeted at youth. Its performance parameters should have been seen differently, but internally it was compared with STAR Plus and people lost conviction in it.”
Detailing the group’s future plans, Shankar said a key area they’d be looking was an educational channel. “It is an important space we would like to enter, but we have not figured out the model, as TV is not interactive. So, that is the challenge,” he explained.
With digitisation, he saw major potential for regional channels and even city channels to tap local advertising. “There are advertisers in local markets who would like to be visible on a regional channel. I don’t buy the argument that the economics does not support regional channels,” he added.
He said the broadcaster was pushing High Definition in a big way and if 3D broadcasting was possible on television, it wanted to take the leadership position.
On investment as a minority equity player in news channels, Shankar said the current regulations did not allow anything else. “We do not want to be limited to being financial investors. But we will not withdraw from our existing ventures, as our brand is there and there are no alternatives available. But if you ask me, if I was asked now, I would not recommend investing in the news business.” The broadcaster is a minority equity player in three news channels, STAR Ananda, Star News and STAR Majha.
Source: Business Standard?