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Star surrenders seven regional sports channel licences
MUMBAI: Star India has surrendered seven TV channel licences it had received in 2015 to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB). Apart from Star’s seven licences, three more licences were surrendered to the MIB by three different companies.
The seven licences surrendered by the broadcaster were Star Sports Bengali, Star Sports Malayalam, Star Sports Malayalam HD, Star Sports Tamil, Star Sports Tamil HD, Star Sports Telugu and Star Sports Telugu HD.
The ministry had granted 10 new licences to Star under the names Star Sports Marathi, Star Sports Bengali, Star Sports Malayalam, Star Sports Tamil, and Star Sports Telugu in standard definition (SD) as well as high definition (HD).
Star India utilised three of the 10 licences it had received to launch Star Sports Select HD1, Star Sports Select HD2, and Star Gold Select HD.
Star Sports Select HD1 and HD2 were launched on the licences of Star Sports Marathi and Star Sports Marathi HD respectively, while Star Gold Select HD was launched on Star Sports Bengali HD licence.
It is pertinent to note that Star had plans to launch regional sports channels. In fact, the broadcaster had made the first move by launching a Hindi sports channel called Star Sports 3 followed by an HD version later.
It seems that Star India has put its regional sports expansion on hold, at least for now.
“We have surrendered these licences because our business plans have changed and also because of the change in the regulatory climate,” an official told TelevisionPost.com.
“However, this doesn’t mean that we will not launch any channels. The change of plans pertains only to these seven licences that we have surrendered,” the official added.
It must also be noted that broadcasters don’t necessarily launch channels under the same name in which the licences were issued. In many cases, the licences get renamed depending on the business plan.
Apart from Star, Aries Telecasting, Lamhas Entertainment and SGA News surrendered their licences.
Aries Telecasting surrendered its non-news downlinking licence under the name Marine Biz TV. The licence was issued in 29 November 2007.
Lamhas Entertainment, which also has downlinking permission for Russia Today news channel, surrendered its non-news uplinking licence Musix Xpress, which was issued on 14 May 2004.
SGA News’ South Asia World uplinking news licence was surrendered to the MIB. The licence was issued to the company on 2 September 2004.
The MIB had granted six new licences in March. Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV had received the licence on 1 March.
Sony Pictures Networks India subsidiary Bangla Entertainment received downlinking licence under the name Sony Aath. The licence is for Bangla and other Indian languages.
Turner International received the downlinking licence to launch Cartoon Network HD. The Cartoon Network HD licence is for English and in due course Hindi. The company owns two kids channels Pogo and Cartoon Network in SD version.
Movements Digital India got an uplinking licence to launch Tunes 6 Music in Hindi and other regional languages. Surya Processed Food got two licences, a news and non-news licence each. The channel names are Surya Samachar for news and Surya Sagar Entertainment for non-news. The licences are for English, Hindi and other Indian languages.
The total permitted private satellite TV channels having valid permission in India stood at 888, as on 31 March. There are 496 non-news and current affairs channels while the total news and current affairs channels stand at 392.
As on 28 February, the MIB had permitted 892 private satellite TV channels to operate in India which included 391 news and current affairs channels and 501 non-news and current affairs channels.