Star India CEO happy to keep highlights of Team India's defeats away from the media house's channels
What's the story?
Star India CEO Uday Shankar has hit back at Wasim Akram's reported opinion on how the Men in Blue are projected as an invincible unit on various channels under the Star group in India. In an interview to the Indian Express, he responded with the typical question-for-a-question when asked to comment on the Pakistani legend's statement.
"So is Wasim Akram saying I should show the Indian fans matches where their team lost badly?"
Answering the second part of the question in a similar fashion, Shankar said that all the bi-lateral series adverts, or ad-series like 'mauka-mauka', have a nationalistic tinge to them because that's how the norm is worldwide.
"What is the context of a bilateral match? We call it the national team. When two nations take on each other, where else will the national sentiment come? It happens in every country. When England and Australia play the Ashes, exactly the same thing happens. Why do we get touchy about it?"
In case you didn't know...
Star India has recently acquired the IPL media rights for the next five years with a bid of Rs 16347.5 crore. And with the auction for BCCI media rights scheduled for next year, it looks likely that Star will go all-in again come 2018.
The heart of the matter
The matter of fact is that during the brief period between two of India's series, all one can catch on the plethora of Star Sports channels on the tele is how the Men in Blue pummelled their upcoming opponents the last time they met. Defending his stance on the same, Shankar was, from a business point of view, right while stating that who would want to lose on TRPs and that they are just serving what the viewers demand.
The CEO further stressed that they are not trying to promote any form of animosity with ad-campaigns like mauka-mauka and that the audience is mature enough to understand the message they're trying to give. He opined that the aforementioned campaign brought about a lot of positivity in the relationship between the two groups of fans.
Further expanding on the point, Shankar said that mauka-mauka was a "tongue-in-cheek thing" and there was no intention of "turning it into India-Pakistan war".
While Shankar has the right to stand by his take on what fans want from the media houses, there would be no harm in slotting-in segments of experts analysing the shortcomings of Team India. If not much, it will at least help an average Indian cricket fan learn about his team more than the repetitive telecast of India pounding Australia three years back in the T20 World Cup.
As far as the adverts go, I firmly believe that they are not to be taken seriously as the banter is what adds spice to the proceedings.