When Star and Zee parted ways in 1999, it marked a new epoch for the company.
Under its new CEO, Peter Mukerjea, it set about chalking a fresh blueprint to redefine television software content for a pan-Indian audience. In July 2000, Star Plus became an all-Hindi channel. Two of its programmes, KBC and ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’, became mega hits attracting a record viewership. To get a firm foothold in the South India audience segment, Star entered into a joint venture with UTV and acquired majority stake in Vijay TV, a popular channel in the Tamil market. In 2002, it broke off its tie-up with NDTV for content supply and, in the following year, re- launched Star News with great success in an all-Hindi format.
The Star platform offers the widest spectrum of entertainment, movies, sports, music, documentary and specialist channels in India. While Star Plus is the flagship brand of the company, other channels, too, attract a huge following. Star News, the fastest growing 24-hour Hindi news channel in the country is watched by 20 million people every week. Backed by the latest news gathering technology, its team of journalists and technicians across 21 bureaus provide high value news and features. Star Gold, the first Indian channel to dub Hollywood blockbusters in Hindi for TV, has a reach of 30 million viewers every week. Channel [v], which offers a mix of music videos, live performances, celebrity and Bollywood news
and happenings, was voted the ‘Most Innovative Brand’ by the AMI Asian Brands Survey, 2002. With a whopping 200% increase in its channel share over the last three years Channel [v] closed the
year 2003 as the number one music channel in the country. Among English movie channels, Star Movies has dominated all day and prime-time shares in the last two years and has a weekly reach of 22 million (Source for all: ACNielsen-TAM). It not only boasts of premium offerings from the major Hollywood studios, but is also the only channel in India to air the Academy Awards live. Star World shows top-rated American drama, comedy and action programmes every day, with India-focussed entertainment during weekends. Over the years, Vijay is becoming recognised as one of the leading brands in the highly competitive Tamil television market.
The popularity of National Geographic Channel (NGC) and The History Channel has shown that a large chunk of Indian viewers want to see programmes on adventure and exploration, science, natural history, wildlife and human interest. NGC offerings, in English and Hindi, today has a weekly reach of over 18 million (Source: ACNielsen-TAM).
Radio City is characterised by exciting shows backed by call-ins, contests, interactive shows and lively radio jockeys that give it an unmatched popular appeal.
The biggest interactive game on radio, ‘Radio City suno aur lakhpati bano’ drew over 12 million calls in only five weeks.
On an average, Star India invests over Rs. 10 million every day in original programming for
TV. This investment not only ensures a high standard of production and content, but also provides income and growth to the Indian entertainment industry.
2003 was a year of a bountiful harvest of awards for Star India. It won a total of fifteen awards at the Promax & BDA 2003 Awards in Los Angeles, USA, including six Platinum Awards
and nine Honourable Mentions.
Star also won India’s first Emmy Award at the International Children’s Day of Broadcasting (ICDB). The award was conferred jointly by UNICEF and the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences at the 30th International Emmy Awards Gala in New York.
In the same year, Josh, shown on Star Plus, won the Asian Television Award for the best drama series. In the technical and creative categories, Star won eight Asian Television awards. In November 2003, Star won 22 Indian Telly awards in various categories, including those for the best entertainment channel, CEO, actors (male and female), director, TV programme, music director and title track singer.
Star’s distinctive programming and high
production values serve as its best promotional vehicles. The high visibility and viewership of serials such as ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’ and ‘Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii’ help in making the task of marketing and brand building a lot easier. Every new serial or programme is a mini event in itself, promoted actively through billboards, print and the visual media. The advertising campaigns and creatives that promote the network brands and programmes have won a number of awards and enjoy a high top-of-mind recall.
Star also makes a substantial contribution in the area of social work. ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ contributed Rs. 46 million to charity through celebrity episodes. Whether raising funds for
the Gujarat earthquake disaster or supporting the anti-tobacco day, Star has demonstrated its commitment to the community it serves.
Star has a tangible impact on how the rest of the world looks at Indian television. Star’s first-mover advantage in India in the early 1990s ensured for it a distinct brand identity with advertisers and viewers.
Star’s India-specific strategy since 2000 has made it a pace-setter in infotainment programming. The cornerstones of its brand are innovation, creativity and relevance in content that
appeals to audiences of all ages. For any media buyer worth his stripe, ‘Star is king
and you cannot have a media plan without it’.
Star firmly believes that ‘viewers are the centre of the brands’ universe and Star’s business is built on their enjoyment’. Its audiences perceive it as a channel that strives hard to entertain, inform and delight its viewers.