Sumantra Dutta, popularly known as Sumo, is one of the core team that started Star TV in India in 1993.
In his current role, he is the country head, Middle East, Africa and Pakistan at Star Middle East. We have a candid chat with him about how Star has evolved over the years to become the household stalwart that it is today
Star TV is one of the world’s leading South Asian TV networks and has been widely known to be the pace-setter in the South Asian TV entertainment arena. Star Middle East FZ LLC is a part of Star India, and Star is a part the global media conglomerate, 21st Century Fox.
In the Middle East, currently Star has a bouquet of six channels Star Plus, Star Gold, Life OK, Channel V, Star Jalsha and ABP news, which cover the genres of entertainment, movies and news in Hindi and Bengali languages.
Sumo says: “Our flagship channel, Star Plus has been the viewer’s favourite channel for over 13 years in Hindi entertainment with viewers consistently rating it as their most favourite channel.
“Our positioning is in line with the brand equity that Star has built over the last decade. The last 13 years have been game changing years for Indian television with Star leading the way. Star has consistently introduced path breaking content with amazing regularity to set the scorching pace in the Indian TV and media industry, all of which have been category firsts,” continues Sumo.
Talking about the achievements and success of the network over the years, Sumo says that Star Plus has been the first channel in Indian television to launch the first game show on TV – Kaun Banega Crorepati (the Indian version of ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’) with a massive Bollywood icon like Amitabh Bachchan as its host.
The channel later launched Shahrukh Khan on TV with ‘KBC 3’ and ‘Paanchvi Pass’. Sumo says: “Star was the first to introduce Indian TV viewers to daily soap operas on TV with ‘Kyunki Saas bhi kabhi bahu thi’ and ‘Kahani Ghar Ghar ki’. Another industry first came with the launch of the high end celebrity chat show ‘Koffee with Karan’.”
“Star’s other path breaking content included being the first channel to launch a show which took on a social responsibility initiative, which then went on to become a worldwide phenomenon with Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan anchoring and leading the show, Satyamev Jayate (Truth Alone Prevails),” continues Sumo.
It was widely appreciated by film and TV personalities, politicians and social activists for its research, presentation and content. For the 1st time in Indian TV, a show was dubbed and simulcast in multiple Indian languages.
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