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Star India’s new organisational structure as it eyes scale up across five verticals

Star India CEO Uday ShankarMUMBAI: Five vertical CEOs, two managing directors and Uday Shankar as chairman-cum-CEO at the top. That is how the new organisational structure of Star India will look like as it aims for an operating profit of $500 million by FY18 and $1 billion by 2020.

Entertainment, sports, digital, Southern regional-language markets and movies are the five growth pillars for Star. There is tremendous potential to scale up in each of these business verticals with the right plan, the right push and the right nurses.

Sanjay_GuptaSanjay Gupta, who has been elevated from the position of Star India COO to managing director, will lead four of these growth engines with the help of individual CEOs. K Madhavan will spearhead the Southern empire of Star India, with Kevin Vaz as CEO. Both will report to Shankar.

With Star India growing at a frenetic pace, the company has created a structure that focuses on empowering business units, with each having a CEO. Unlocking entrepreneurial energy, the five CEOs are expected to run their own ship, scale up operations and develop profit engines.

kevin vazAddressing the staff at Star India’s office in Mumbai and via videoconferencing across 135 cities, Shankar said that the business dynamics had changed and one needed to have a structure that suited the zeitgeist.

The scale of Star’s business has certainly changed. In FY09, its revenue stood at $390 million. The revenue successively jumped from $500 million in FY10 to $670 million in FY11, to $725 million in FY12 and to $1,020 million in FY13 (including eight months of revenue from sports). Star could become a Rs 10,800 crore company in 2016.

Having set eyes on high growth, the best way to achieve it was to amend the old organisational structure and bring in entrepreneurial qualities of the CEOs. The structural changes would be fully operational before 1 July.

Amit ChopraWhile the five buckets of entertainment, sports, movies, digital and the South business would push growth, a pan-India content studio was also being set up under Gaurav Banerjee. He will report to Gupta.

Forming part of the leadership bench is Amit Chopra, who has been designated as CEO of entertainment, including drama and movie channels in Hindi, English, Bengali and Marathi. He will have enough in his plate as more channel launches are being planned, particularly in the high-definition (HD) space.

Nitin KukrejaNitin Kukreja has been made CEO of sports, which would include not just broadcasting but also other functions like sports leagues. Star has procured 10 new licences from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting Ministry (MIB) to launch Star Sports Marathi, Star Sports Bengali, Star Sports Malayalam, Star Sports Tamil and Star Sports Telugu both in standard definition (SD) and in high definition.

The sports business has added scale and once digitisation is enforced in its full spirit, subscription revenues could grow multifold. The push to regional pockets of the country with local-language sports channels would also add a new dimension to Star’s business, strengthening its existing entertainment presence in these markets.

On the regional front, Vaz will have the immediate task of launching new channels. Having made the HD push in sports and English entertainment space, Star is now moving to the regional markets. Star Jalsha HD and Jalsha Movies HD will launch on 14 April, the Bengali New Year.

Vijay SinghNext to roll out would probably be the HD version of Star Pravah. Also in the pipeline are HD channels of Tamil GEC Star Vijay and Telugu GEC Maa TV.

Incidentally, Star has got uplinking licences to launch the HD versions of Maa TV, Telugu movie channel Maa Movies, Star Jalsha, Jalsha Movies and Marathi GEC Star Pravah. The broadcaster is also planning to launch the HD version of its Tamil GEC Star Vijay. Earlier, the company had received the uplinking licence for its Tamil GEC Star Vijay HD.

Ajit MohanInitially, the regional-language HD channels will be mirror versions of the standard definition channels. “The market right now is not large enough to launch regional-language HD channels with different content from their SD versions. Separate content will be lined up as the market evolves,” a Star India executive said.

Digital, which includes the mighty growth engine Hotstar, will have Ajit Mohan as CEO. In fact, Hotstar, which debuted in February 2015, has seen phenomenal growth and is changing consumption habits. Plans are afoot to take Hotstar to the rest of the world in a few months.

Shankar’s keynote address at FICCI Frames was indicative of the changing times. “Star has probably more engineers than any other media and entertainment company. Equally, we have more designers and more storytellers than anyone else does, because those are the three pillars on which we see future M&E companies getting built,” he stated in his speech.

Now Shankar has added a new organisational structure that would guide Star India’s new phase of growth.

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