Three years after Disney Star started contemplating shutting down its English general entertainment channel Star World, the global media giant is finally bringing the curtain down on its English GECs on Tuesday.
On June 22, 2020, BestMediaInfo.com reported that Star World would be discontinued owing to New Tariff Order woes. However, the decision to do away with a few niche channels was delayed due to a lack of clarity on NTO.
Disney Star will discontinue its English GECs – Star World, Star World HD and Star World Premiere HD – from March 14.
With this, India’s 30-year-old English GEC will cease to exist.
Star entered India with the launch of Star Plus as English GEC in 1992, which was renamed Star World in 2000 after Star Plus became Hindi GEC.
In May 2020, Sony Pictures Network India’s (SPNI) AXN, AXN HD and Network18’s FYI TV18 were taken off-air.
This leaves three English GECs – Zee Cafe, Comedy Central and Colors Infinity – in India.
Baby TV (HD), UTV HD, Star Sports 1 Marathi and Star Sports 1 Bangla are the other channels from the Disney Star stable going off air from Tuesday midnight onwards.
The network announced that it will launch nine new channels starting March 15 – Star Gold Romance, Star Gold Thrills, Star Movies Select, Star Sports 1 Tamil HD, Star Sports 1 Telugu HD, Disney Channel HD, Star Gold 2 HD, Vijay Super HD and Asianet Movies HD.
Commenting on Disney Star’s move, Karan Taurani, Senior Analyst at Elara Capital, said that if we look at content consumption in India, English was the first genre which moved towards digital in terms of consumption patterns because English is only watched in Tier-1 or metro cities.
“We have seen Star shutting Star World Select HD. Sony wrapped up its AXN channels long back. English, as a genre, is more viewed on OTT platforms and there is no shortage of content on OTTs. This is why English content has felt the pinch here,” Taurani said.
Furthermore, he went on to say that Hindi and regional are two genres which are here to stay on TV for some time.
“Genres like English, infotainment and music have seen a very strong negative impact because of the acceleration of the shift to digital because of the pandemic and most of these trends have sustained in the post-COVID-19 era. So, it makes sense to take these channels off-air,” Taurani said.
“English GECs and English movies were a very small portion of the overall ad revenue. Other broadcasters will also adopt this strategy and you will see this shift across the three genres mentioned earlier,” he added.