Press Release

DD network could beam Star’s Aamir Khan show

22 February 2012

The country’s largest private broadcaster by market share, Star India, owned by media baron Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, has begun talks with state-owned Doordarshan (DD) to air a chat show produced and anchored by Bollywood actor Aamir Khan, two people familiar with the development said.

The Star proposal to use the country’s oldest broadcaster’s strong reach in rural India will be the first time a broadcaster beams its show on a rival channel. DD has a network of 21 regional and national channels.

“There’s a concept from Star which is being discussed and we might telecast it simultaneously with them,” said Deepa Chandra, additional director general (programme), Doordarshan. “Aamir Khan has had meetings with the director general but the approvals are yet to come.”

“Star has approached us, but a final decision is yet to be taken,” said one of the two persons with direct knowledge of the development. He asked not to be named as the deal is still in the works. The plan is to telecast the show in Hindi, English and regional languages simultaneously on Star and DD.

Star TV officials did not respond to emails and calls.

The alliance, if approved, will help Star reach 500 million viewers across 142 million homes with TV sets, said television audience measurement agency TAM Media Research. “DD’s reach in India is 100%,” said LV Krishnan, CEO of TAM. “It is available on all platforms — terrestrial, cable, satellite and digital.” Star Plus, on the other hand, reaches only cable, satellite and digital homes, estimated at roughly 116 million.

The untitled talk show is said to be based on people’s lives cutting across geographic and demographic divides.

“It is a real show about real people,” Uday Shankar, Star India chief executive had told newsmen after announcing the plans in October, 2011. “The show will be simulcast in regional languages besides Hindi and English.”

Media consultants say Doordarshan, which is struggling to make money competing with satellite television broadcasters, will have both financial and creative gains.

“It is a risk-free proposition for DD,” says Farokh Balsara, media & entertainment leader for Europe, India, Middle East and Africa at audit and consulting firm Ernst & Young. “They will get advertising for the slot and also quality content with high production values.”

“The show is allied with DD’s objective and vision and its target audience will appreciate it,” he says.

Star will get a wider reach and better advertising revenues. “Prominent FMCG players are looking for a vehicle to connect to smaller towns and villages as the rate of growth is maximum there,” says Balsara. “If Star aligns itself with DD, it will interest the advertisers as well.”

Source: Financial Express?

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