Television broadcasters Star India and Zee TV had joined together to form a combined venture, MediaPro, in the year 2010. The aim was to form a partnership to break the monopoly of cable operators, and provide the customers with reduced carriage fee burdens.
MediaPro was formed as a 50:50 partnership between Zee Television and Star India, with the aim to have a better bargaining power with the ruling cable operators of the time. This, of course, was way back when digitisation was not common.
Around fifteen to twenty percent of the revenues were utilised on carriage fees. However, industry analysts claim the company was not meant to carry on indefinitely, but it achieved what it set out to do, that is change the dynamics of the Indian television industry. The company was successful in breaking the monopoly of cable operators, and bringing in a certain amount of transparency in distribution.
Said an industry observer, “Even if the JV doesn’t exist, their clout will remain.”
The decision to liquidate the company comes on the back of TRAI regulations, which does not allow companies like MediaPro to sign any sort of bulk deals with cable providers.
At the time of the regulation, Zee Telefilms, Managing Director, Punit Goenka had said, “We will continue to be bullies. Adding that MediaPro was never meant to last forever, Punit Goenka said, “We had come together to fix certain inefficiencies, our agreement was not time bound.”