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Star to pull branding from news channels run by venture with ABP

Star to pull branding from news channels run by venture with ABP

Mumbai: The Ananda Bazar Patrika (ABP) Group and Star India announced on Monday a rebranding of their joint venture that operates three news channels—a move that analysts said was a precursor to the Rupert Murdoch-owned company exiting the eight-year alliance.

The analysts added that ABP would likely buy the 26% stake Star owns in the joint venture, Media Content and Communications Services India Pvt. Ltd (MCCS), for a value that is to be determined. According to them, Star News, the Hindi news channel operated by the venture, will make a profit this year on revenue of around 250 crore. The analysts also said that Star will not be able to launch a news channel till March 2013.

Star and the Kolkata-based media group formed MCCS to jointly operate three channels—Star News, Star Ananda (Bengali) and Star Majha (Marathi). The three will be taken over by ABP and renamed ABP News, ABP Ananda and ABP Majha.

The split follows ABP’s launch of Bengali general entertainment channel Sananda last year in competition with the Star Jalsha channel.

“The three news channels have evolved into market leaders in their segment," ABP, which publishes the Bengali newspaper it’s been named after, and The Telegraph, said in a statement.

“Star News was a strong national brand among viewers. While ABP has been a strong regional name, the transition will be challenging. They will have to work hard on stabilizing the rechristening," said Basabdutta Chowdhury, chief executive, Platinum Media, a unit of Madison World, an advertising and public relations agency.

Star India is planning to focus on its general entertainment channels that operate in Hindi and other regional markets.

aminah.sheikh@livemint.com

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