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Home >Companies >News >K Madhavan named president, Walt Disney Co India, Star India

New Delhi: Media and entertainment conglomerate Walt Disney has named K. Madhavan as president, the Walt Disney Company India and Star India, with immediate effect. Madhavan takes over from Uday Shankar who had stepped down as president, the Walt Disney Company APAC and chairman, Star and Disney India, last October.

In this role, Madhavan will drive the strategy and growth of the company in India, with responsibility for the Disney, Star and Hotstar businesses and operations spanning across entertainment, sports and regional channels, and direct-to-consumer, the firm said in a statement on Wednesday. This includes oversight of channel distribution and advertising sales, as well as the local content production business which currently is responsible for the creation of original programming across fiction, non-fiction, sports, and movies.

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“For the past several months, I have had the pleasure of working directly with KM and have seen firsthand how he has adeptly managed our India business, which has been and will continue to be critical to our global and regional strategy," Rebecca Campbell, chairman, international operations and direct-to-consumer, the Walt Disney Company, said in a statement. “A skilled leader with an extensive background in media, KM has taken our Star networks and local content production businesses to new heights despite continued industry evolution and significant challenges due to the pandemic," she added.

Madhavan has served as country manager of Star and Disney India since 2019, overseeing the company’s television and studios business in the country. He had joined Star India in 2009 as its south head, supervising its regional entertainment portfolio. Previously, he had served as managing director and chief executive officer for the firm’s Malayalam language channel Asianet from 2000-2008. Prior to his media career, Madhavan was in the banking and corporate finance sector.

To be sure, Disney had made a global announcement last year to reorganize its media and entertainment businesses to “focus on developing and producing original content for the company’s streaming services." Its streaming service Disney+ Hotstar has notched up around 25 million subscribers in India, thanks to its sports catalogue that includes the coveted IPL (Indian Premier League), besides the move to cash in on the shutdown of movie theatres last year, picking up a bunch of big-ticket Bollywood titles including Laxmii, Bhuj: The Pride of India, Sadak 2 and others, in what was estimated to be a 400 crore bulk deal. While the television business remains dependent on daily soap offerings, Disney is said to have slowed down on its local movie slate in India though acquired arm Fox Star Studios, though the company hasn’t confirmed the same.

“I am very proud to have the opportunity to lead the incredibly talented and passionate team we have in India, and to further build upon our portfolio of channels and programming," Madhavan said in a statement. “We have an exciting journey ahead of us. I am committed to continuing to move our business forward, working more closely together with colleagues across Disney to enhance our global and regional offerings," he added.

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