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Star Plus driving News Corp growth in Asia
BS Corporate Bureau in New Delhi | March 26, 2004 11:55 IST
Star Plus, with its rising advertising and subscription revenue, is driving the growth of Star group.
"Star, bolstered by a 20 per cent increase in revenues, substantially increased its second-quarter operating income versus prior year. Revenue gains were driven by advertising and subscription growth primarily at Star Plus which, on an average, continues to deliver all of the top 10 cable programmes in India," News Corporation, the parent of Star Group, has said in its latest filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission of the US.
News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch had said at the company's annual general meeting last October that Star India had fuelled the growth and profitability of the group in Asia.
Star's growth in India comes at a time when it suffered start-up losses in countries such as China and other Asian countries.
Star's operating income improved by $5 million owing to higher subscription revenues from India as well as stronger syndication revenues from Bangladesh Cricket and lower costs associated with various cricket events.
According to estimates, Star India has booked revenues of $200 million in 2002.
This is about 70 per cent of Star group's Asian revenues. Star Plus is estimated to reach about 40 million cable and satellite homes of the total cable and satellite universe of about 45 million.
As per the last year's estimates, subscription revenues accounted for about 70 per cent of Star India' revenues. The remaining comes from advertising.
The company is taking steps to increase India revenue from the present levels.
As part of the plan, the company had cut subscription rate for services and asked cable operators for a higher declaration of subscribers.
Besides, the company is also drawing up plans to increase the reach of its other channels in India.
In addition, the broadcasting company is also looking at expanding its bouquet of channels in India as well as generate more India-centric programmes.
As a part of its expansion, the company plans to enter direct to home satellite television distribution system in India in partnership with the Tata group.
Besides, the company also has interest in the country's cable operating companies with about 26 per cent interest in Hathway.
Star, a wholly-owned subsidiary of News Corporation, is Asia's leading multi-platform content and service provider.
Star's 40 distributed services in eight languages reach more than 300 million viewers across 53 Asian countries.Star channels in India include Star Plus, Star World, Channel [V], ESPN, Star Sports, Star Movies, Star Gold, Star News, National Geographic Channel and Star Vijay.