Star India senior executives to take salary cuts amid COVID disruption

The Coronavirus has badly impacted even the big players of the media and entertainment industry in India. Disney owned Star India, the Indian broadcasting and streaming giant has decided to go for voluntary cost reductions with the IPL being suspended indefinitely, and TV originals productions being stopped. Speaking at an UpGrad webinar, The Walt Disney Company APAC chairman and Star and Disney India president Uday Shankar said, “We have voluntarily rolled out a programme for senior executives to take salary cuts. We don’t need to, to be honest. We decided to do that as an investment for the future. We want to be prepared. And I am happy to say that it has been hugely received. Everybody has very positively reacted to that.”
Uday Shankar
Sources reveal that the salary cuts in place would be around 15 to 20 per cent. Shankar acknowledges that it is important to accept the grim realities of what lies ahead of this pandemic. He expects that the next few quarters will be crucial for everyone to buck up and create a new game plan. Talking about the near future, Shankar said that it will be ‘fluid and bad’. While the top executives are taking salary cuts, Shankar has a message for his company employees. “We had a town hall meeting and I said that this is the time we start investing in the next cycle and work towards that. In one or two years’ time, can we be twice as stronger as we were when the crisis hit us? We will face second-order challenges such as a reduction in salaries. Some may, unfortunately, lose jobs while businesses may struggle with liquidity,” he said. He also warned people to not have high hopes as everybody needs to be realistically prepared for it to get worse. “Do not expect the short term to get better. You may even have to take a reduced income,” he added.