STAR India surrenders seven sports channel licenses



STAR India has returned to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting seven of the 10 licenses acquired in 2015. The broadcasters had plans to launch regional sports channels. But, the licenses for seven regional sports channels Star Sports Malayalam, Star Sports Bangla, Star Sports Tamil, Star Sports Telugu, Star Sports Tamil HD, Star Sports Telugu HD and Star Sports Malayalam HD have been surrendered by STAR India Private Limited.

Star India MD, Mr Sanjay Gupta, said “I have no comment to offer” as approached him for the official reaction. However, the move makes it clear that the broadcaster has shelved its plans to launch regional sports channels. This can be a direct outcome of Star India’s failed strategies around various projects.

The MIB had also granted Star Sports Marathi, Marathi HD and Star Sports Bangla HD licenses to Star India. The Star group has used these three licenses for the launch of Star Sports Select HD1, HD2 and Star Gold Select HD. The MIB rules permit broadcasters to use a license to launch channel with another name.

With the content rights already secured, launching sports channels would not been a very costly affair for the Rupert Murdoch-controlled company. But the experts always believed it won’t have been a commercially viable option as the regional language simulcast would have eaten into the pie of Star’s main platforms.

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