Under the agreement and subject to regulatory approvals, Star Jupiter will become the majority shareholder of Asianet Communications Limited (ACL) which currently broadcasts channels in Kannada (Suvarna), Telugu (Sitara) and Malayalam (Asianet, Asianet Plus). Vijay, the Tamil language general entertainment channel currently operated and owned by STAR, will now come under STAR Jupiter.
The Joint Venture is expected to make additional investments towards developing and launching new channels in South India in the coming months.
The current management team of ACL, including Vice-Chairman and Managing Director K Madhavan will continue in their roles under the Joint Venture. K Madhavan has built a talented creative team at ACL and established Asianet's presence beyond India in the Middle-East, UK, US and South-East Asia. Under his stewardship over the past decade, ACL has delivered top-rated programs to audiences across the world.
Paul Aiello, CEO of STAR, said, "This is a game changing partnership for STAR. It allows us to connect deeply with the rapidly growing South Indian audience by providing compelling television that truly resonates with the viewers there. And by adding the South Indian channels to our extensive portfolio of Hindi and regional language channels, STAR takes a big step towards becoming a truly national broadcaster in India."
Aiello continued, "Mr Chandrasekhar is a true pioneer and an accomplished entrepreneur in the media industry. His track record in the telecom and cellular industry and his performance in spotting and investing in new opportunities and building brands, consumer franchises and management teams from scratch in India is truly impressive. We are excited to have him as our partner in growing our presence in the South Indian television space."
Rajeev Chandrasekhar said "I am very excited at this Joint Venture and partnership, which will potentially transform the entertainment television business in India. STAR has impressed me with its commitment to this market, to its consumers and to its partnership with Jupiter. I am sure that this Joint Venture will set new standards and become the pre-eminent provider of entertainment for customers and viewers in the four states of South India."
Uday Shankar, CEO of STAR India said, "South India represents the next big growth story for Indian television. With this strategic partnership, we should be able to capture this growth opportunity and create a much bigger platform for creative talent that would offer the South Indian a lot more exciting content. The partnership also offers an exciting opportunity to those advertisers who are looking at nationwide reach vehicles and reinforce this with strong regional channels."
STAR and Jupiter are also exploring a wide range of new areas of cooperation including film co-production by Fox STAR Studios India and Indigo Movies, Jupiter Entertainment's movie production arm.