BOMBAY — The Discovery Channel will be encrypted in some Asian territories beginning March 31, while remaining a free service in India. Local Discovery manager Kiran Karnik said encrypting has become necessary because the channel does not have programming rights for all the countries covered by the PAS 4 satellite.

Discovery has carved a comfortable niche market for itself in the year it has been operating in India, beaming into more than 5 million homes.

But Karnik admitted the channel was running at a loss. It will take five years for Discovery to break even, he said. The recent inclusion of Hindi programming has worked well, he said, leading to the channel increasing its Hindi content from six to nine hours on weekends as of April 1.

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