After reuniting with Uday Shankar, James Murdoch is embarking on an ambitious new media venture in India. Shankar is the person who helped build the Murdoch family’s Star television empire prior to leading Disney’s Asia arm. The project brings back together one of India’s most successful media partnerships. They are working with the objective of forming a “large-scale” business in the areas of education, digital media and healthcare delivery, developed in part through acquisitions. For the time being, Murdoch did not disclose the name of the venture and its exact modus operandi. He stated that for his Lupa Systems holding company, it would be a “major priority” and a “centre of gravity”.
Murdoch formed Lupa by means of his $2bn in earnings from the $71bn sale of most of the Murdoch family’s 21st Century Fox empire to Disney. So far, the investments have come from Vice Media, Art Basel, Tribeca Film Festival. Also, the investments have come from an online education start-up in India called Harappa Education. He stated that the development with Shankar would be “entrepreneurial, but with large-scale desires. Last month, Shankar left Disney after spending two years as its president for Asia-Pacific and chair of its India operations.
By means of a Disney Plus Hotstar streaming service that has amassed tens of millions of subscribers, he has transformed a struggling Indian television channel in 2007 into one of the country’s biggest media groups and leading sports broadcaster. The various outlets of the group have a weekly audience of more than 700m viewers. In the late 2000s, he began working with Mr Murdoch when he was overseeing News Corp’s Asia business.