Disney Star, formerly known as Star India, is an Indian media conglomerate owned by Disney India, which is the Indian regional subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company.[1] Headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, Disney Star runs more than 70 television channels in eight languages, reaching out to 9 out of 10 cable and satellite television homes in India.[2] The network reaches approximately 790 million viewers a month across India and more than 100 countries.[3] Disney Star generates more than 30,000 hours of content every year.[4] Disney Star is the largest television and entertainment network in India.

Disney Star
FormerlyStar India (1990–2022)
Company typeSubsidiary
Disney Star
IndustryMedia conglomerate
Founded1 August 1990; 33 years ago (1990-08-01)
FounderStar TV
Area served
Key people
RevenueIncrease120 billion (US$1.5 billion) (FY 2021)
ParentStar TV (1990–2014)
Disney India (2019–present)
SubsidiariesStar Studios
Disney+ Hotstar

History edit

Founding edit

Star TV (Satellite Television Asian Region) was founded in 1990 as a joint venture between Hutchison Whampoa and Li Ka-Shing. It launched Hollywood English-language entertainment channels for Asian audiences.[5]

1990–2000 edit

In 1990, Star TV started with the first 5 channels included Star Plus (then an English-language entertainment channel), Star Chinese Channel, Prime Sports, Channel V and BBC World Service Television.[5][6]

In 1992, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation purchased 63.6% of Star India for $525 million, followed by the purchase of the remaining 36.4% on 1 January 1993. Star broadcasting operations were run from Rupert Murdoch's Fox Broadcasting premises.[7][8] Murdoch declared that:[9]

(telecommunications) have proved an unambiguous threat to totalitarian regimes everywhere ... satellite broadcasting makes it possible for information-hungry residents of many closed societies to bypass state-controlled television channels

Between 1994 and 1998, Star India was launched, later launched Star Movies, Channel V, and Star News with a limited Hindi offering, and then Star Plus for Indian viewers.[10][11][12][13]

2001–2017 edit

In 2001, Star India acquired South India based Vijay TV.[14] In 2003, Star India's deal with NDTV ended and Star News was made into a 24-hour news channel. Disney bought it in 2009 for $2 Million or 2 Cnt venture (JV) with Anand Bazar Patrika Group to comply with the regulations set for uplinking of news and current affairs channels by the Government of India.[citation needed] It subsequently exited from this joint venture in 2012. After the split the channel was renamed ABP News and operated by Anandabazar Patrika Group.[13]

In 2004, Star One was launched as a Hindi content channel.[15] In 2008, Star Jalsha, a Bengali language entertainment channel and Star Pravah, a Marathi language entertainment channel were launched.[16][17]

In 2009, Star India acquired Kerala based media conglomerate Asianet Communications, Thiruvananthapuram (was founded by Dr. Raji Menon in 1993[18]) which served Malayalam language content.[19] In August 2009, the Star Group restructured its Asian broadcast businesses into three units – Star India, Star China Media, and Fox International Channels Asia.[19]

In the same year, Star Affiliate and CJ Group of South Korea launched CJ Alive (later known as Shop CJ), a 24-hour Indian television shopping channel which used Star Utsav for hosting the television marketing programs in six-hour slots in its initial stage of launch. Star Affiliate exited the joint venture in May 2014.[20] This venture was called Star CJ.

News Corporation launched a film production and distribution business in India through Fox Star Studios India, an affiliate of Star India in the same year.[21]

In April 2012, Star won the rights to Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) through 2018, replacing Nimbus Communications. Valued at 3,851 crore (equivalent to 73 billion or US$910 million in 2023), the agreement included rights to India national cricket team home matches on television and mobile streaming, as well as domestic tournaments such as the Ranji Trophy and Irani Cup.[22]

On 6 November 2013, Star India rebranded its Star Sports channels, renaming the main Star Sports channel to Star Sports 1, Star Cricket to Hindi-language Star Sports 3, ESPN to Tamil-language Star Sports 4, and Star Cricket HD and ESPN HD to Star Sports HD1 and HD2.[23][24]

In February 2015, Star India launched its streaming service, Hotstar, a mobile and online entertainment OTT platform that features content in 9 Indian languages and broadcasts sporting events.[25][26][27] Star also acquired the broadcast businesses of Maa Television Pvt. Ltd to boost its presence in Telugu-speaking markets.[28]

In February 2017, Star India and global media conglomerate, TED, announced a new TV series, TED Talks India – Nayi Soch. Its programmes starred Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan and featured newer TED talks made in Hindi language. The programme followed the signature TED format of prominent speakers voicing their opinions in an 18-minute or less monologue in front of a live audience.[29][30]

On 28 August 2017, Star India replaced its Hindi Entertainment channel Life OK with a free-to-air channel Star Bharat.[31]

On 5 September 2017, Star India won the global media rights to broadcast the Indian Premier League (IPL) under a five-year deal beginning in the 2018 tournament, and valued at 163.475 billion. Beating previous rightsholder Sony, the contract included domestic rights for Star Sports, and digital rights for Hotstar.[32]

On 14 December 2017, The Walt Disney Company announced their intent to acquire Star India's parent company 21st Century Fox for US$52.4 billion after the spin-off of certain businesses.[33][34]

2018–2023 edit

In 2018, Star India renewed its BCCI rights through March 2023, in a contract valued at 61,384.1 crore (equivalent to 820 billion or US$10 billion in 2023)[35]

On 13 December 2018, Disney announced Uday Shankar who serves as chairman of Star India would lead Disney's Asian operations and would become the new chairman of Disney India, which became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company, being re-organized under Disney India.[36] On 27 August 2018, the channel Star Life was launched in Africa in English language offering the English dubbed Indian Hindi series from the Indian star channels.[37][38]

On 4 January 2019, Star TV shut down its television operations in USA for the promotion of its digital counterpart, Hotstar.[39]

On 20 March 2019, Star India became a subsidiary of Disney India after the US$ 71.3 billion deal in the acquisition of former parent company 21st Century Fox was closed. Now, Disney India owns television channels of UTV Software Communications and Star India.[40][41]

In April 2020, the Walt Disney Company merged Hotstar with Disney+ in India to form Disney+ Hotstar with Hotstar operating independently and coexisting with Disney+ in Canada and US,[42] since it launched on 4 September 2017; the United Kingdom on 13 September 2018;[43] and Singapore on 4 November 2020, prior to Disney+ in the country.[44]

On 30 December 2020, Disney announced that the Star branding would be replaced with Utsav from 1 February in the Netherlands,[45] with the Utsav Gold, Utsav Plus and Utsav Bharat branding launching in the UK on 22 January 2021, Star Vijay's international feed also changed a new logo based with Utsav Network in yellow colour and rebranded as Vijay TV around the world on that same day, Utsav Network would separated to Star Gold, Plus and Bharat, the Asian feed would launch in South Korea.[46]

On 31 August 2021, Disney announced that it would phase out Hotstar in the US and move all contents into Hulu and ESPN+. Initially, it was announced that the service would shut down in the US by late 2022,[47] until it got moved to an earlier date on 30 November 2021.[48]

On 18 October 2021, Disney and Star announced that they would exit from the English general entertainment industry and that they would close down Star World and Star World Premiere in India originally planned by 30 November 2021 (although the Star Movies channels, alongside Disney International HD will not be affected). The Bangla and Marathi feeds of Star Sports 1 will also close on the same day. Meanwhile, the Star Gold brand would expand with the launch of an HD simulcast of Star Gold 2 that would replace UTV HD, alongside the rebranding of UTV Movies and UTV Action as Star Gold Romance and Star Gold Thrills. Star Movies Select HD, Star Movies Hindi, Star Movies Tamil will also launch an SD simulcast, becoming the first niche premium English movie channel in India to do so.[49] However, a delay in TRAI's new tariff order, followed by protests from digital cable operators and multi-system operators, caused the plans to be postponed till mid-March 2023.[50]

On 14 April 2022, Disney India rebranded Star India to Disney Star.[51] On 27 May 2022, Fox Star Studios was renamed just Star Studios, as part of the removal of the "Fox" name from the studios that had been acquired from 21st Century Fox by Disney.[52]

In 2023, Disney Star Channels relaunched in the U.S.

Merger with Viacom18 edit

In July 2023, The Walt Disney Company began exploring strategic options, including a sale or formation of a joint venture, for their businesses in India.[53] Between September and October 2023, the company held preliminary talks with Reliance Industries, billionaire Gautam Adani and Kalanithi Maran, owner of the Sun Group, for a potential sale of its streaming and linear television assets.[54][55] In late October 2023, it was reported that Disney was nearing a cash and stock deal with Reliance Industries for the sale of its operations in India, including a controlling stake in Disney Star. The assets Reliance would acquire are reportedly valued at around $7-8 billion and a transaction was to be announced as early as November.[56] Although Disney CEO Bob Iger refuted claims of a sale during a third quarter earnings call, it was announced in December 2023 that Disney and Reliance had signed a non-binding term sheet for a merger. According to its terms, Reliance would hold 51% in the merged company in cash and stock, while Disney would own the remaining 49%. For purposes of the merger, a subsidiary of Viacom18 was created to absorb Disney Star through a stock swap,[57] pending ratification and regulatory approval.[58][59][60][61]

In February 2024, Disney and Reliance reached a deal to merge their streaming and television assets, with the joint venture valued at $8.5 billion including synergies. As part of the deal, Viacom18 would be merged into Disney Star with Disney holding a 36.84% stake in the combined entity, which would bring together assets such as linear television entertainment channels StarPlus, Colors TV and the Star Gold Network, sports channels Star Sports and Sports18 and the streaming services JioCinema and Disney+ Hotstar with Nita Ambani serving as the chairperson of the joint venture, with Uday Shankar serving as vice chairperson with the deal giving 16.34% to Reliance and 46.82% to Viacom18, with the deal being expected to close sometime in late 2024 or early 2025 pending regulatory approval.[62][63][64]

In March 2024, it was reported that Paramount Global was looking to sell its 13.01% stake in Viacom18 to Reliance, which already owned a 73.91% share via TV18.[65] Although Bloomberg News reported that the deal was unlikely to close, the deal was confirmed a week later for $517 million, its closure subject to regulatory approval and the completion of the joint venture between Viacom18 and Disney. Paramount would however continue to license its content to the company.[66]

On May 14, 2024, It was reported the deal between Disney and Reliance was approved by National Company Law Tribunal, with the JioCinema streaming service being moved to the Digital18 unit as part of the merger.[67][68]

Owned channels edit

On air channels edit

India edit

Channel Launched Language Category SD/HD/4K Availability Notes
Star Plus 1992 Hindi General Entertainment SD+HD
Star Bharat 2017 Formerly Star One and Life OK
Star Utsav 2004 SD
Star Utsav Movies 2016 Movies
Star Gold 1999 SD+HD
Star Gold 2 2020 Formerly Movies OK, UTV HD
Star Gold Select 2017
Star Gold Romance 2023 SD Formerly UTV Movies
Star Gold Thrills Formerly UTV Action
Bindass 2007 Music
Star Sports 1 Hindi 2017 Sports SD+HD Formerly Star Cricket
Star Sports First SD
Disney International HD 2017 English General Entertainment HD Replaced Bindass Play
Star Movies 1991 Movies SD+HD
Star Movies Select 2015
Star Sports 1 1996 Sports
Star Sports 2 2013
Star Sports 3 2018 SD Replaced Channel V India
Star Sports Select 1 2016 SD+HD
Star Sports Select 2
Star 4K 2024 4K Replaced from Baby tv
Hungama TV 2004 Hindi, Tamil, Telugu Kids SD
Disney Channel English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu SD+HD
Disney Junior 2012 SD
Super Hungama 2022 Formerly Toon Disney/ Jetix, Disney XD and Marvel HQ
National Geographic 1998 English, Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Marathi Infotainment SD+HD
Nat Geo Wild 2009
Star Life 2024 Lifestyle Formerly Fox Life
Star Jalsha 2008 Bengali General Entertainment
Star Jalsha Movies 2012 Movies
Star Pravah 2008 Marathi General Entertainment
Star Pravah Picture 2022 Movies
Star Kiran Odia General Entertainment
Star Suvarna 2007 Kannada
Star Suvarna Plus 2013 Movies SD
Star Sports 1 Kannada 2018 Sports
Asianet 1993 Malayalam General Entertainment SD+HD
Asianet Plus 2005 SD
Asianet Movies 2012 Movies SD+HD
Star Vijay 1994 Tamil General Entertainment
Star Vijay Super 2016 Movies
Star Vijay Takkar 2022 Youth Entertainment SD Replaced Star Vijay Music
Star Sports 1 Tamil 2017 Sports SD+HD
Star Maa 2002 Telugu General Entertainment
Star Maa Movies 2011 Movies
Star Maa Gold 2012 SD
Star Maa Music 2008 Music
Star Sports 1 Telugu 2018 Sports SD+HD

International edit

Channel Launched Language Category SD/HD availability Notes
Star Life 2018 English General Entertainment SD+HD Africa Only
Utsav Plus 2021 Hindi UK and EU Only
Utsav Bharat
Utsav Gold Movies
Asianet Middle East 2010 Malayalam General Entertainment SD Middle East Only
Star Select 2023 Hindi HD South Africa only

Upcoming channels edit

Channel Launch Language Category SD/HD availability Notes
Star Utsav 2 TBA Hindi General Entertainment SD
Star Gold Comedy Movies
Star Jalsha Josh Bengali Youth Entertainment
Star Sports 1 Kannada HD Kannada Sports HD
Star Sports 3 HD Hindi
Hungama HD Hindi, Telugu, Tamil Kids

Dissolved channels edit

Channel Launched Defunct Language Category SD/HD availability Notes
Star One 2004 2011 Hindi General Entertainment SD Replaced by Life OK
Life OK 2011 2017 SD+HD Replaced by Star Bharat
Movies OK 2012 2020 Movies SD Replaced by Star Gold 2
UTV Movies 2008 2023 Replaced by Star Gold Romance
UTV Action 2010 Replaced by Star Gold Thrills
UTV HD 2018 HD Rebranded as Star Gold 2 HD
Channel V 1994 2018 Music SD Replaced by Star Sports 3
Star News 1998 2012 News Sold & Rebranded as ABP News
Star World 1991 2023 English General Entertainment SD+HD HD: Discontinued SD: replaced by Star Sports 1 Tamil HD[69]
FX 2010 2017 HD: Star Sports First[69]
SD: Star Sports Select 2 SD[69]
Fox Crime 2010 2015 SD replaced by Star Movies Select HD[69]
Star World Premiere 2011 2023 HD Replaced by Star Movies Select SD[69]
Star Movies Action 2013 2017 Movies SD Formerly Fox Action Movies
replaced by Star Gold Select SD[69]
Baby TV 2005 2023 Kids SD+HD Replaced by Star 4K
Star Cricket 2007 2014 Sports Replaced by Star Sports 3,

Star Sports 1 Hindi

Disney XD 2009 2019 English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu Kids SD Rebranded As Marvel HQ
Marvel HQ 2019 2022 Rebranded As Super Hungama
Nat Geo Music 2007 2019 Hindi, English Music SD+HD Replaced By Nat Geo Telugu
Star CJ Alive 2009 2015 Shopping SD Replaced as Shop CJ
Star Ananda 2005 2012 Bengali News Sold & Rebranded as ABP Ananda
Star Sports 1 Bangla 2019 2023 Sports Discontinued
Star Sports 1 Marathi Marathi
Star Majha 2007 2012 News Sold & Rebranded as ABP Majha
Star Vijay Music 2020 2022 Tamil Music Replaced by Star Vijay Takkar
Nat Geo Tamil 2019 2020 Infotainment Discontinued
Nat Geo Telugu Telugu
Fox Life 2014 2024 English, Hindi Infotainment SD+HD Replaced by Star Life

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ Country Manager & President, The Walt Disney Company India & Disney Star, Managing Director (MD) of Asianet
  2. ^ CFO, Direct-to-Consumer & International – APAC, The Walt Disney Company

References edit

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External links edit