Star India CEO Uday Shankar today said that the Indian Premier League's media rights auction was a case of "getting everything or losing everything" for the company, which paid an eye-popping Rs 16,347.50 crore in a landmark deal.
"We were either prepared to get everything or lose everything. It feels good because at Star when we try for something you want to succeed," Star India top boss Shankar told PTI in an exclusive interview.
Asked if it was a technical battle where Star outbid Sony despite being nearly Rs 4850 crore short in India (TV) broadcast bid, Shankar tried to put things in perspective.
For India broadcast bid, Sony's singular bid was Rs 11,050 to Star's Rs 6196 crore.
"Well, it might sound technical but I think BCCI created a brilliant strategy to maximise its value. Because what they did was, they realised by unbundling the rights (segregating verticals and areas), they could get interests of people to focus disproportionately on the most relevant piece of right that they wanted," Shankar explained.
Sony, without so much of a digital presence, put its whole budget (Rs 11,050 crore) while Star bid in every segment even at times when it was functional, which showed that it was ready to diversify in terms of verticals (broadcast and digital) as well as areas. Similarly, Facebook came up with a monstrous Rs 3900 crore India digital bid only.
"Our strategy was very simple. We felt we are the only bidders, who have a presence in TV broadcasting and also a robust presence on a digital platform (via HotStar). We have a good distribution of Star Channels internationally and we want to rule out HotStar globally. We thought IPL could be a device for that," Shankar explained the rationale behind the global bid.
"So we felt that instead of putting money on one or two segments disproportionately, individually, if we got only one right, the value that we put would have been a reflection of our reluctance to own one piece.
"So we were prepared to either get everything or lose everything whereas others focussed on specific areas of interest. We wanted to get India as well as global rights so that we can unlock a better value for our business. Even if we have been marginally off in any of the segments we would have lost it," he said.
Shankar admitted that some of the bids like Rs 65 crore for the Middle East (where BeIn Sports bid 330 crores) or Rs 17.88 crore (where FollowOn bid Rs 70.01 crore) for Australia and New Zealand were functional.
"Yes, (on functional bids) but on the other hand, from BCCI's point of view, it was the case of price discovery and yet they have managed to get more from consolidated bids than they could have got from the sum of parts (Rs 15,819.51 crore). That is a very interesting aspect.