Star India adds Telugu through Maa Television acquisition

DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 12 February 2015

Star India has bought the Telugu network Maa Television for INR2,000 crore (US$321 million) in a move which is set to boost its regional Indian language offering to six channels.

The deal – subject to regulatory approval – marks the largest acquisition by the 21st Century Fox-owned company in India since it completed the buyout of Asianet in 2014.

"Star has been bullish about regional content for a long time. We have an extensive portfolio in regional content and Telugu was a critical gap which has been plugged now," said Uday Shankar, chief executive, Star India.

The acquisition will see Star India access India's second largest regional market in terms of revenue, and add Telugu to its existing regional offer of Tamil, Bengali and Marathi content. It will compete for the Telugu-speaking audience in the two states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana with national networks Zee, Sun and Network18, as well as a multitude of regional operators.

Maa Television broadcasts four channels – Maa TV, Maa Music, Maa Movies, and Maa Gold – which combined have a 27% share of the Telugu general entertainment market, according to Live Mint.

"Star's leadership in Indian media and entertainment industry and its parent company's proven expertise in media business on global scale will enable Maa to offer more innovative, rich and differentiated entertainment content to the Telugu Diaspora worldwide" said Nimmagadda Prasad, chairman, Maa Television Network.

"Telugu TV viewers will stand to gain significantly from this initiative through greater access to a wide variety of qualitative entertainment content," Prasad added.