Uday Shankar is the President of The Walt Disney Company for Asia Pacific and the Chairman of Star and Disney India.
Uday leads the charge for Disney’s transformation into a direct-to-consumer company in the most exciting region of the world. He is also focussed on creating deeply local media assets in the region. Along with his leadership of Disney’s media networks and direct-to-consumer businesses, Uday also oversees Disney’s film distribution and content sales operations in APAC, which has emerged as the fastest growing market for this business.
Prior to his current role, Uday was the President of 21st Century Fox for Asia and the Chairman & CEO of Star India. He took over the leadership of Star India in 2007 and since then has transformed Star into one of the largest and most successful media companies in Asia. A believer in the power of local, Uday led the company’s aggressive foray into regional and local language programming, transforming Star into a content behemoth which now broadcasts more than 30,000 hours of content every year. Uday also consolidated Star’s sports broadcasting operations through 21st Century Fox’s acquisition of its joint venture with ESPN. Today, Star Sports is India’s largest sports broadcaster and is fundamentally redefining India’s sports ecosystem. In a notoriously single sport country, Star has launched multiple domestic sports leagues like those in Kabaddi and Football and has pioneered the agenda of creating a thriving multi-sports culture. Under Uday’s leadership, Star has also made strides in disrupting the country’s digital landscape with the launch of Disney+ Hotstar (erstwhile Hotstar), which is India’s largest OTT platform for professionally produced content and has gone global in its footprint. With its strong technology muscle, Disney+ Hotstar has guided the evolution of Star beyond a traditional media institution into a leading consumer technology company. It is now the largest digital video platform outside of US and China. Under Uday’s leadership, Star has transformed into a multi-screen, multi-genre media network and that reaches out to more 700 million viewers every month in more than 100 countries. It broadcasts 70+ TV channels in 8 different languages in India, reaching 9 out of every 10 C&S TV homes.
In addition to his leadership of Star, Uday has played a key role in shaping the media and entertainment sector in India, bringing reforms for the industry and its consumers. He has been at the forefront of landmark initiatives in television broadcasting including self-regulation and digitization of the television distribution ecosystem. Currently, Uday is the Senior Vice President of FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry). He has earlier been the President of the Indian Broadcasting Federation (IBF) and the Chairman of FICCI’s Media and Entertainment Committee.
A trained journalist, Uday also pioneered the development of TV news ecosystem in India. Prior to Star India, he was the CEO and Editor of Star News, which was the first 24-hour news channel in India. He was also the Editor and News Director at TV Today Group, where he spearheaded the launch of Aaj Tak, a leading Hindi news channel, in 2000 and Headlines Today, a leading English news channel, in 2003. Uday holds an M. Phil in Economic History from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi.