Multiple brands may safeguard Murdoch's India biz: Experts
Rupert Murdoch-led News Corp's strategy to operate under multiple brands may help the group shield its Indian businesses from any possible fallout of the crisis engulfing the group in the UK and US, experts say.business Updated: Jul 19, 2011 15:24 IST
Rupert Murdoch-led News Corp's strategy to operate under multiple brands may help the group shield its Indian businesses from any possible fallout of the crisis engulfing the group in the UK and US, experts say.
The media conglomerate, which owns assets worth USD 66 billion (about Rs 3 lakh crore) across the world, has a significant presence in India, including in the television content and distribution, publishing, films and news businesses.
However, the experts believe that the Indian businesses may remain insulated from the phone hacking and police bribery scandals that have pushed the group into a deep crisis in its key Western markets.
The Indian business might be affected only if the group's worldwide business comes under the scanner, they added.
The group operates most of its businesses in India through Star India Pvt Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of US-listed News Corporation.
Its portfolio here includes about three dozen general entertainment channels and three news channels including Star News. The Indian business has been a key contributor to its global TV advertising revenues.
The group's TV channels are mostly operated under the Star brand in the country, while the Fox brand is used for films, Harper Collins for publication, Sky for satellite TV distribution and Dow Jones for financial market information services.
While the queries sent to Star India remained unanswered, media buyers and planners said that a layman here may not even know that the Star TV channels in India were owned by Murdoch.
"I don't think it will have any impact on his India business. His India business is strong and growing and mainly focused on entertainment," Madison World Chairman and MD Sam Balsara said.
"People from the media and advertising industry are aware of the crisis, but the phone hacking controversy will not have any impact on routine operations here. Nothing will change for him here," another media advertising executive said.
Rupert Murdoch himself has described the group's Indian business as a "next generation" prospect.
A few months ago in March this year, during his visit to India, his son James Murdoch had also rued regulatory bottlenecks in the country, but promised to continue to invest in India as a priority market.
On his part, Murdoch Sr said in News Corp's last annual report for the year 2010 that Star India was being developed as a "next generation" business by the group and also as a "hedge against uncertainty" in other segments.
Much before the ongoing crisis broke out, he said that businesses as large as his group were "no stranger to adversity or to instability."