One of the most powerful players in industry, what sets Uday Shankar apart is his desire to revolutionise the broadcasting business. And he seems unperturbed how his actions are perceived by people. Hence, when Star India decided to pursue an anti-piracy drive, not many thought it would yield significant results. However, a year later, its campaign against illegal transmission/re-transmission of pay TV channels by cable operators and piracy of Star TV signals, has resulted in over 100 FIRs against offenders across the country, leading to police raids on their premises, arrests and seizures of equipment. People finally paid attention as Shankar’s resolute actions started paying off.
This year, there was a major rejig at Star India and Shankar was elevated to a newly created designation of Chairman and CEO from his earlier designation of CEO. Simultaneously, the then COO, Sanjay Gupta, was promoted to MD-Star India, while K Madhavan became MD-South. The company also streamlined its operations into various business units, with a CEO handling each division.
In sports, Star India bagged exclusive media and digital broadcasting rights for the French Open from 2017 to 2021 for India and the Indian subcontinent (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka). Star India also launched Star Utsav Movies, a FTA Hindi movies channel on Doordarshan’s Freedish DTH platform.
Edelweiss in January 2016 valued Star India at around INR 91,000 crore, putting it head and shoulders ahead of its competition. Now that the company has reengineered itself, it has to push the boundaries of broadcasting, by offering innovative content across its TV and digital platforms.