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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Star India to invest in anti-piracy technology and cricket based services

Mumbai: STAR India, the exclusive media rights holder for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)’s international and domestic cricket matches, is planning to invest Rs 100 crore in the first year to enhance the consumer experience, mainly beyond television.STAR, the Rupert Murdoch-led News Corp’s Indian subsidiary that has acquired all media rights of BCCI for six years from April this year, is also planning to tighten the noose on the piracy of content that is rampant on mobile and internet.

“There is lot of piracy beyond television as far as sports is concerned. The rights are not being honoured and the sad part is that big mobile companies are making money and rights holders are not getting anything. We at STAR India believe this blatant misuse of rights should be punished and we will crackdown heavily on such piracy,” Sanjay Gupta, chief operating officer of STAR India, told Business Standard.

Gupta added mobile companies often use low-quality content from content aggregators and offer them to consumers. “We will invest Rs 100 crore in the first year for shaping up the system, manpower, technology, analytic, etc to offer much better user experience on mobile via value-added services (VAS),” Gupta claimed.

Asked about the return on investment, he said it was not significant right now, but in three to five years, it would be a significant revenue stream. “Today, there may not be a huge revenue leakage, but what is worst is that we are not shaping the future and this piracy will kill any prospect of making mobile VAS as a potential revenue stream,” Gupta said.At present, an average consumer spends 20 hours per week on television, while just 10 minutes on consuming content on mobile devices and it is here that STAR India is looking enough value to unlock.

STAR India had also published a public notice in the country’s leading dailies on Friday, announcing that it is the exclusive owner of the BCCI rights and that no entity, without its prior permission, should engage in mobile any activity that infringe or interfere with it rights. It had also said STAR India is authorised to take legal action against such entities.Gupta added: “It’s time that people should recognise and respect that we hold the rights. We are going to educate them, engage them. It is going to take lot of efforts and time, and STAR is fully geared up for it.”