Star India network channels will go off cable broadcast networks in the USA from January 5, 2019. Star India in a major strategic move has adopted digital only approach for the key US markets. Some of the key sports events for now will be an exception.
The US audience will from January 5 onwards will get all the Star India Network channels only on Star’s OTT platform Hotstar. The list of the key channels to be cut off cable networks in the USA includes Star Plus, Star Gold, Star Vijay, Maa, Asianet and Movies OK, will no longer be available on any cable TV provider in the US including Dish TV, Sling TV, Comcast, Verizon.
However, key sports properties like the Indian Premier League may still be provided on cable TV through the Fox network channels, Indiantelevision.com has reported quoting an anonymous Star India executive.
“As an innovative and disruptive media company driven by world-class content and technology, Star India is connected with several hundred million viewers all over the world. Every international market is unique, and therefore our business strategy and approach is customised to each region. We strongly feel that in the US, a digital-only approach would best suit the market, and therefore we have decided to make all channels of the Star India Network available exclusively on our digital streaming platform Hotstar, which is the go-to streaming platform for the South Asian diaspora in the US,” a Hotstar International spokesperson has told the website.
“However, while we have gone ahead with a digital-only approach in the US, in other markets, we believe that the powerful combination of linear TV and digital streaming provides a robust entertainment experience to consumers.”
Star’s decision could deliver a huge boost to its international OTT arm by driving up its subscription numbers. OTT subscriptions, unlike in India, are much cheaper in the US when compared with DTH and cable. While most of the OTT apps charge $10-15 per month, traditional cable subscription costs close to $80. With the use of smart TV on the rise, the move will facilitate a better streaming experience for consumers.
Notably, Hotstar extended its premium subscription in the US in 2017. At the moment, Hotstar’s monthly pack is priced at $9.99, while annual pack costs $99.99 in the US.
In yet another major development on Thursday, Star India chairman and CEO and 21st Century Fox president Uday Shankar was elevated to the office of the chairman Star and Disney India, and president The Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific in the new Disney-Fox combined restructuring.