Star India and Zee Entertainment Enterprises have confirmed reprorts that they are joining forces to market a bouquet of 68 channels in India.
As outlined on 26 May 2011 by Rapid TV News, the formation of a joint broadcast distribution company by the rival entertainment giants could potentially change India’s broadcast landscape.
Under the terms of the deal, the two companies' distribution arms, Zee Turner and Star Den, have formed a 50:50 joint venture. Zee Turner is a 74:26 JV between Zee Entertainment and Turner International and Star Den Media is an equal JV between Star India and Den Networks .
Asked if the JV could see the companies launching new channels together, Star India's chief operating officer, Uday Shankar, said: "We will continue to be aggressive competitors for market share. It is this one area where there is a crying need for some strategic change and that is why we decided to come together, but I do not see the competition for eyeballs getting softened because of this coming together at all."
Star Den's channels include Star Plus, Star One, Star Gold, Star Movies, Star World, NatGeo, Fox History and Entertainment, Asianet, ESPN Star, Star Sports, and Star Cricket. Zee's channels include Zee TV, Zee Cinema, Cartoon Network, HBO, WB, Zee Studio, Zee Business and Zee Cafe.
CNBC-TV18 reports that the Competition Commission of India is planning to look into the alliance, sources said. Both Zee and Star maintained that the venture would not be a threat to competition.
"This is a sector in which there is a technological device that prevents any kind of monopoly, which is the remote (control), it is so choice-friendly, there are almost 500 channels available, so in a blink of an eye you can change the channel and change our ratings, so it is not possible to monopolise in this sector," said Shankar.
"Households pay religiously to cable service providers but cable operators don't allow the funds to flow into the service chain in a legitimate manner. There is a huge leakage, so we are not able to get a fair share of the pie," he said.