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MTV Asia talks are heating up

In an indication that Rupert Murdoch and Sumner Redstone still value their MTV Asia partnership, negotiations on MTV’s liaison with News Corp.’s Asian satcaster, Star TV, have reached the highest level.

An MTV insider said Murdoch, the majority shareholder of Star TV, and Redstone, chairman of Viacom-Paramount, which owns the MTV Networks, met recently to resolve snags that have jeopardized the continued carriage of the vidclip service by the satcaster.

MTV Asia, which has spearheaded Star TV’s advance into the Asian region, wants an increase in the $ 4 million annual licensing fee paid by Star for use of MTV’s logo, promos, graphics, program titles and selected program content. It also wants an increase in the 7% share of advertising revenue the vidclip service receives.

“Reports that MTV will definitely quit are certainly premature from our side, ” said one highly placed MTV insider. “We are still engaged in good-faith negotiations with Star, and if the recent reports that they have made a decision are true, that’s news to us.”

Nonetheless, rumors abound that there may be a split.

MTV reps are known to have made inquiries to other potential partner/carriers , like Wharf Cable in Hong Kong, and to several production centers in Singapore.

A Star insider confirmed that the music channel management has developed a repackaging plan to be introduced if a split occurs.

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