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Star India reduces RIO rates of Star Sports HD1 and HD2

MUMBAI: 21st Century Fox-owned TV network Star India has reduced the reference interconnect offer (RIO) rates of its two high-definition (HD) sports channels Star Sports HD1 and Star Sports HD2 in order increase their penetration.

As per the broadcaster’s new HD channel rate card, the price of the two HD channels has been decreased to Rs 50 each. Earlier, the RIO price of the two channels was in the vicinity of Rs 110 each.

“Star has rationalised the prices of Star Sports HD1 and Star Sports HD2. Both the channels will now be sold at Rs 50,” a Star India official said on condition of anonymity.

“We have looked at market demand and thought that perhaps Rs 50 would be the correct price point in terms of gaining traction in the sports genre,” he added.

Star India’s sports network comprises four HD channels, namely Star Sports HD1, Star Sports HD2, Star Sports HD3 and Star Sports HD4. The HD channels mirror the four standard-definition (SD) channels.

The RIO rates of Star Sports HD3 and Star Sports HD4 have been left untouched. The two channels that were launched around the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup are priced at Rs 50 each. “We haven’t touched Star Sports HD3 and HD4,” the official stated.

HD Channels Rate CardStar India is bullish about HD channels and has been on an HD channel launch spree in different genres. It launched two HD channels in English entertainment, namely Star Movies Select HD and FX HD. It also launched the HD version of its Malayalam entertainment channel Asianet. The three newly launched channels have been priced at Rs 30.

Earlier while speaking at the second Annual MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit, Star India CEO Uday Shankar had asserted that Star’s HD subscriber base would increase to 25–40 million subscribers in the next 3–5 years from the current base of 3 million.

With digitisation, HD channels will also see a growth since cable TV does not have bandwidth constraints unlike DTH. “Cable has not been able to push HD in a meaningful way. Some DTH operators were slow to realise the potential of DTH. Going forward, HD will be a big driver of broadcasters as well as platforms income,” Shankar had said.