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James Murdoch meets PM Narendra Modi on India visit

MUMBAI: Just when FICCI organised its annual media conclave Frames in Mumbai, Twenty First Century Fox co-COO James Murdoch met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Thursday, 26 March. Murdoch was accompanied by Star India CEO Uday Shankar.

James uday PMMurdoch also met minister of Information and Broadcasting, Finance and Corporate Affairs Arun Jaitley.

Not much is known about what transpired in the meeting.

Incidentally, Murdoch had paid a courtesy visit to Modi in his previous visit to the country in 2011 as well. Modi, who became PM in May 2014, was then the chief minister of Gujarat.

Star India, a subsidiary of Twenty First Century Fox, is the largest broadcast network in the country.

The broadcaster has been aggressively building its media empire. Having established its TV entertainment business, the company is now building its sports business and has already poured billions of dollars in buying rights.

Recently, it had bought MAA TV Network’s broadcast business to fill the only gap that existed in its portfolio. Star has a strong presence in Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam markets. It is a strong player in English entertainment and sports broadcasting as well.

It had also recently acquired Screen magazine from Indian Express Group to build synergy around its newly launched video-on-demand platform Hotstar.

While building its core businesses, Star has exited several non-core businesses like cable TV company Hathway Cable & Datacom, home shopping channel Star CJ Alive, and TV news joint venture with ABP Group.

While the last one is a key area for the company, the foreign ownership restrictions imposed by the government compelled it to exit the business.

Star also owns significant minority stake in direct-to-home (DTH) company Tata Sky, which has the Tata Group as the majority shareholder.