Uday Shankar, chief executive of the Star India network that is part of Rupert Murdoch’s media conglom, has said that lack of freedom of expression is a challenge facing the Indian television industry.
Small pressure groups in India have been known to hold big productions ransom over perceived offensive content, and Shankar fears for Star’s big budget mythological skein “Mahabharat.” (1)
“What keeps me awake is that some lunatic fringe somewhere in the country would raise some absurd objection to the show,” Shankar said at a media conference Sept. 13.
Another challenge pointed out by Shankar is the government cap on subscription rates. Indian subs pay a maximum of $5 per month. Shankar described current Indian television content as “tired, stagnated (and) insipid.”
“Freeing up ticket pricing in cinemas created the foundation for a dramatic improvement in the quality and diversity of movies that came to the market,” Shankar added, noting that there would be a similar effect on television content if tariff caps were removed and the rates left to market forces.
— Naman Ramachandran