Ted Turner says his company, along with a consortium of broadcasters, will compete with satcaster Star TV once new satellites have been launched in the Pacific region.

Turner said the so-called “gang of five” (CNN, TVB Intl., ESPN, HBO and AusTV) will go onto Apstar 1 later this year and Apstar 2 next year, to give the Rupert Murdoch-owned Star “a real run for their money.”

Turner made his remarks at the final day of the three-day AIC Pan Asian Cable and Satellite TV Conference in Hong Kong Thursday.

“We’ve been here with CNN Intl. since 1982 with Japan and Australia and we’ve created less of a stir in those past 12 years than one other company has in six months,” he declared, apparently referring to Star TV’s rocky nine months coming to terms with the political sensitivities of the Asian region.

“Our philosophy has been and continues to be that we always want to come in where we’re wanted, and we never try to force our way or force anybody in any way, shape or form. That will continue to be our policy.”

“I have a lot of respect for Rupert Murdoch,” Turner confided.

“He was a visitor at my house for the weekend once and when you’re with him, it’s hard not to like him. However, as a competitor, it’s hard to like him.”

Turner predicted that the coming years in Asia held disappointment for many broadcasters.

“Any business where the cost of entry is low means the profit is low. There are going to be a lot of losers,” he said.

Deviating from TV, Turner aired some of his personal views on international matters.

He backed Chinese defiance of political pressure from the United States on human rights. “Personally, I don’t think any country is in a position to tell any other country what to do,” he told the crowd that had gathered to hear him speak.

“I certainly have my own philosophy on how a country ought to be run and I haven’t ever found a country that was run that way, including the one I live in now,” he said.

Turner said he believed the best way to induce others to follow you is to lead by a successful example.

“We never came and told people how to run a TV station. We just came here with our little satellite CNN Intl. and now everybody’s copying it.”

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