In a shift that would help NDTV focus on its content creation, Prannoy Roy-led NDTV Group and Star India on Tuesday announced a tie-up under which media baron Rupert Murdoch's News Corp-owned Star India will carry out advertising sales for NDTV news channels NDTV India, NDTV 24x7 and NDTV Profit on a five-year agreement.
Until now, NDTV's ad sales were being handled by Aidem Media, set up by Raj Nayak, who earlier carried out the same function as NDTV Media's head.
"We at NDTV are primarily an editorial team and this ad-sales agreement with Star is a simple commercial agreement," an NDTV spokesperson said.
"Star has a bigger platform to sell as a bouquet. Advertisers buy ad space on a large number of channels and a good bouquet is always an advantage. This is quite normal in our industry."
Nitin Kukreja, EVP business development, Star India, concurred: "It is a commercial alliance - that's where it stands as of today. With this alliance, we have definitely managed to create value in the news space. NDTV as a brand has a phenomenal presence in news."
Uday Shankar, CEO, Star Group, said, "The combination of the NDTV news brand and Star's leadership should be able to unlock significant value for NDTV... and enable Star to offer a comprehensive option to advertisers and agencies."
Why did NDTV part ways with Aidem, which also handles Sahara, to tie up with Star India which, incidentally, does not handle Star News' ad sales either?
A source in the know said Star has offered a better commercial deal and guarantees to NDTV than Aidem did.
Are we looking at a possible merger?
NDTV answered with a categorical no, saying there is no relationship between Star Den and Star's ad sales activity.
NDTV recently switched its distribution from Sony to Star Den.