A Critical Political Economy Perspective on Indian Television: STAR, Hotstar, and Live Sports Streaming

  • Mahima Singh Indian Institute of Technology Indore
  • Akshaya Kumar Indian Institute of Technology Indore
Keywords: Star, Hotstar, OTT platforms, Critical Political Economy, live sports streaming, television, Indian capitalism


The Indian television industry is transforming via an increasing number of Over-the-Top (OTT) platforms. This shift from broadcast to OTT has given rise to research assessing the impact on the television ecosystem. With the case of Star Network, this study examines how the emergence of live sports streaming has affected the power dynamics in the sports broadcasting ecosphere. This study employs the Critical Political Economy framework to address the following question: How do television-based media conglomerates – and by extension television itself – negotiate the challenge of Internet-based digital media in India? Keeping the focus on sports live-streaming services, we study the transition from Star television network to Disney+ Hotstar, its corresponding OTT platform. We however argue that the Political Economy of Communication holds its ground despite the apparently disruptive promise of web-based platforms. Despite the Internet posing new challenges in terms of distribution networks, media conglomerates find a way to convert their dominance of the television industry into the OTT space.

Author Biographies

Mahima Singh, Indian Institute of Technology Indore

Mahima Singh is a PhD scholar in the School of Humanities and Social Science at Indian Institute of Technology Indore. Her research interests include new media, media economics, media practices, and broadcast media.

Akshaya Kumar, Indian Institute of Technology Indore

Dr. Akshaya Kumar is an assistant professor at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Indore. His journal articles on Indian cinema, Media theory and Platform economy have appeared in leading international journals, including Social Text, Postmodern Culture and Media, Culture & Society. He has also authored the monograph Provincializing Bollywood: Bhojpuri Cinema in the Comparative Media Crucible (Oxford University Press, 2021).