14 June, 2021

Making News, Breaking News

The STAR-NDTV marriage is on the rocks, threatening to change the face of newsmaking in the subcontinent

Atul Loke
Making News, Breaking News
Days before media tycoon Rupert Murdoch and his son James landed in Mumbai to supervise News Television India operations last week, an internal memo from a senior Hong Kong-based STAR executive hinted at the undercurrents. Among other things, it reflected on the current relationship between the Star News channel and its content provider NDTV, and the need to review the same, especially two of its most crucial issues—editorial control and the $15 million a year that STAR is paying NDTV.

The note reflected on the growing need of Star News to have complete editorial control, ostensibly because news—especially after 9/11—was also seen as an important revenue earner for the channel as compared to serials, game shows and soaps. It referred to the fact that earlier news watching was habitual and the time spent on it relatively low as compared to soaps and serials. But now the concept of anytime news was catching up. Hence, it was important to have direct control on the channel's news operations, the note added, in a politically sensitive country like India, especially after...

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