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Our India business is more important than the US in many ways: Lachlan Murdoch

MUMBAI: 21st Century Fox executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch has said that the company’s India business under Star India is a very significant business for the media company.

According to Lachlan, Star is a well-rounded media business that provides 17,000 hours of local content.

He also stated that the Fox will continue to expand globally. He further added that the company’s international businesses are no less important than the US business.

“We will continue to expand globally. We don’t see business as a domestic business and an international business. That’s the biggest mistake anyone can make,” Murdoch said at a conference recently.

Talking about the India business, he noted, “We see our business in India not only as important as the US but frankly more important in many ways. Star TV in India is well-rounded media business. It is not a satellite TV provider. It is a media company that provides 17,000 hours of local content.”

Lachlan asserted that the India business is a huge growth business for the company considering that it will deliver an EBITDA of $500 million in FY18 and $1 billion in FY20.

“We’ll make $500 million this year in EBIDTA out of Star, growing to $1 billion in EBITDA by the calendar year 2020. So there’s huge growth business for us around the world,” he said.

While refusing to comment on media reports that the company is planning to sell a large part of its assets including Star India, Murdoch said that Fox is only company which has seen a growth in affiliate revenue and subscriber base.

He also said that the companies that don’t have a scale will face survival issues in the digital age. Scale, he said, is not an issue in Fox’s case.

“There are sub-scale businesses in media today, which will be the losers going forward in a digital world. And that’s absolutely the case. If you haven’t invested in your programming and your channels and you haven’t invested in your distribution platforms, you are unlikely to get on the new digital services, and subsequently, you will struggle. We don’t believe we’re in that situation, and we can demonstratively point to growing affiliate fee growth,” he said.

“I think we’re [maybe the only large media company in America] that’s growing subscribers – net subscribers across our channels because of our mix of younger cable channels. So [we] feel very strongly about where we’re positioned to grow the company as a standalone company.”

He further pointed out that all media companies will be in direct to consumer business going forward. He also said that the old business models will have to change in the digital era.

“All media companies are going to be direct-to-consumer. So whether it’s in the next few months – and we’ll see more launches in the next few months – and over the next couple years, every single media company will have direct-to-consumer products. And, ultimately, everything will be available direct-to-consumer,” he stated.