New pact for STAR TV India

Direct TV DTH platform grabs additional programming

NEW DELHI — Following in the footsteps of competitors Sony and Zee TV, Rupert Murdoch’s STAR TV India has inked a programming alliance with the Direct TV DTH platform.

The alliance means STAR will provide Indian sports, music, current affairs, entertainment and news on this new platform.

Zee TV had earlier tied up with Echostar, and Sony is already available on Direct TV.

Rathikant Basu, STAR TV chief executive officer, told Daily Variety the tie-up would be more in the nature of sale of cable rights for STAR’s programs. News Television India, the corporate entity behind STAR TV, has also initiated moves to start regional language channels in Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Sindhi and Punjabi. The first of these is expected to go on air by December, and the others will follow soon after.

The satcaster has already started discussions with suppliers for obtaining highly tailored programming content for the regional target populations.

After the successful launch of STAR News, and the STAR World channel for the Indian and South Asian audiences, the satcaster is now targeting specific ethnic populations with local-lingo programming.

Basu said, “We are now engaged in serious discussions with content producers for these channels.” Basu added, “STAR TV India will break even next year, and year three of the Indianization process, which started in October 1996, will be a cash-positive year.”

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