New Delhi: Rupert Murdoch’s media conglomerate 21st Century Fox on Tuesday appointed Uday Shankar, chairman and chief executive of Star India Pvt. Ltd, as president, 21st Century Fox for the Asia region.
The development comes at a time when 21st Century Fox has restarted talks to sell most of the company’s assets, including UK broadcaster Sky, to Walt Disney.
In his new role, Shankar will lead Fox’s video businesses across all of Asia, including Star India and Fox Networks Group, and work closely with the firm’s leadership on key strategic initiatives in the region.
He will continue to serve as chairman and chief executive for Star India, a unit of 21st Century Fox. Star is one of India’s largest media and entertainment companies, with over 60 channels across entertainment and sports in eight languages, and leading digital video platform Hotstar. Star India reaches more than 700 million viewers in India and across the globe every week, the company said.
“Uday’s new role will enhance our strategic focus across all of Asia and enable us to further capture opportunities, building on the transformation Star India has driven in our most important growth market," said Lachlan Murdoch, executive chairman, and James Murdoch, chief executive, 21st Century Fox, in a joint statement. “Under Uday’s leadership, our India business has firmly established itself as a world-class asset with durable businesses across entertainment, sports, satellite distribution and OTT. His strategic vision has put 21CF at the forefront of content and distribution in one of the world’s fastest growing economies, and we are very fortunate to benefit from Uday’s expanded leadership at a global level."
In September, Star India won television, digital, Indian and global media rights to the India Premier League (IPL) for the next five seasons for Rs16,347.50 crore, outbidding rivals including Sony Pictures Networks India, Facebook Inc. and Bharti Airtel Ltd.
Shankar has been leading operations at Star India since October 2007 and has guided the transformation of Star India into a diversified media company, leading initiatives in distribution through Media Pro, movies through Fox Studio, regional television through Asianet and sports, following 21st Century Fox’s (then News Corp.) acquisition of its joint venture with ESPN in 2012.
“His tenure has been marked by persistent leadership in television through innovative programming and investments in leading technologies, both of which have set the benchmark for the industry," the company said in a statement.
Zubin Gandevia, president of Fox Networks Group Asia, will continue to oversee video brands across 14 markets and now report to Shankar under this realigned regional structure. The firm’s film business in Asia will continue to report directly to Stacey Snider, chairman and chief executive of 20th Century Fox Film.