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Star Utsav to go pay from 16 August

home (DTH) platforms.
“The channel’s FTA contract is about
to end on 15 August, 2015 and it does
not plan to re-new or extend it
further,” sources close to the
development told
The channel will be priced at Rs 5 on
Tata Sky, at Rs 6 on Videocon d2h and
at Rs 3 on Hathway Cable and
Datacom. Through this development,
the channel now aims to earn
revenues from both ad and
subscription based route.
It can be recalled that the channel
witnessed a new logo and packaging in
the month of January this year to tap
and engage with the rural consumers,
while keeping at pace with the urban
audience. Moreover, it had changed
its programming from six days a week
to the entire week designed to mirror
the daily routines of its viewers.
According to a media expert, the
purpose of launching Star Utsav was to
reach out to its desired TG in smaller
cities and towns where audiences were
not exposed to Star Plus. However
with the channel going pay, the
expert doubts whether the channel
will get the desired visibility. “The
logic to me is unclear, why would
consumers want to pay for a repeat
content? The move makes sense when
the channel experiments by bringing in
original content for the same
audiences,” he said.


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  1. MUMBAI: After running as a free-to-
    air (FTA) service for more than 11
    years, Star India’s Hindi general
    entertainment channel Star Utsav is
    finally set to turn pay on 16 August
    Earlier in January, the channel had
    changed its logo, packaging,
    programming and scheduling too,
    giving itself a needed facelift. Prior
    to that, Star India had elevated its
    vice president Jyotsna Viriyala to the
    position of business head of Star
    Utsav after Pratik Seal’s exit from
    the organisation.
    In a public notice issued on 13 July,
    Star India intimated that Star Utsav
    will be converted to a pay channel
    across India and across all delivery
    platforms, including cable (analogue
    as well as digital), direct-to-home
    (DTH), and headend-in-the-sky
    Speculations that Star Utsav will turn
    into a pay channel started making
    rounds soon after Seal was made the
    company’s business head.
    Interestingly, before Seal, the
    channel never had an independent
    business head and the business head of
    Star Plus would handle the additional
    Star Utsav, which is the most-
    watched channel on Prasar Bharati’s
    FTA DTH service DD Freedish, was
    enjoying a free run sans any
    competition till 2013. However, later
    Zee Anmol and Viacom18’s Rishtey
    also entered the FTA space and Multi
    Screen Media’s (MSM) Sony Pal also
    took a Freedish slot, leaving the
    market cramped but offering
    audiences more choice.
    The channel currently telecasts re-
    runs of shows from Star Plus and Life
    In an earlier interaction, Star India
    COO Sanjay Gupta had told
    TelevisionPost.com that as an FTA
    channel Star Utsav is doing quite well
    in the Hindi heartland. “Star Utsav
    requires a lot of focus and attention
    because a large number of advertisers
    are keen to talk to those consumers.
    That’s why we appointed Pratik Seal
    as the business head of the channel.”
    Asked if the channel would offer fresh
    programming, he had said that repeat
    would be a very wrong word to
    describe the content that Star Utsav
    offers. “I think there is no
    difference between Star World and
    Star Utsav. Star World also repeats
    content. But Star World’s content is
    new to us Indians and Star Utsav’s is
    not. For many viewers who do not
    have access to Star Plus or Life OK,
    Star Utsav offers fresh content. In a
    sense, therefore, Star Utsav is the
    Star World of India,” he had said.
    Star Utsav has great reach. Viewers
    who do not have cable can get the
    channel via Freedish. It is available on
    all the DTH platforms as well as most
    of the digital cable platforms.
    When asked as to what may have
    prompted Star India to take the
    channel pay, a senior media buyer
    said, “Over time, Star Utsav has
    become a strong FTA channel with
    great recall value. I believe the
    company is looking to exploit the
    same by turning it pay.”
    He added, however, that once the
    channel goes pay, the reach will go
    down and the channel will in most
    probability add original content. “You
    cannot be a pay channel and remain on
    Freedish. So once the channel gets
    out of Freedish, its reach is going to
    drop significantly. Moreover, it will
    have to put in some original content,
    which will take its input cost higher.
    But it will get subscription revenue,”
    he added.
    While Star India is yet to disclose its
    reasons and strategy for the
    conversion, Zee Entertainment
    Enterprises Ltd chief sales officer
    Ashish Sehgal does not think Zee will
    follow suit. “I am sure they have
    their strategy, but Zee Anmol remains
    an FTA channel. The ad pie is big and

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