Social networking site launching in Asia

Rupert Murdoch’s purchases of the Wall Street Journal and MySpace are expected to help his Asian satcaster Star TV expand its footprint in the continent.

That’s according to Paul Aiello, Star TV CEO, who’s looking forward to the acquisitions creating synergies — particularly as News Corp.-owned social networking site MySpace is launching in Asian countries.

Aiello was coy about specific details during his appearance at the Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Assn. of Asia (Casbaa) convention’s “In Conversation” series in Hong Kong on Thursday.

But he dropped hints of expansion in India and other Asian countries as the satcaster tries to consolidate its position as a market leader against increasing competition.

Aiello said Star’s successful business model has contributed to its recent slow down.

“It’s harder to push creativity in new areas and how you think about your business when it’s working pretty well,” Aiello said.

Aiello reiterated the company’s firm foothold in India and its market leadership, even though its lead is being trimmed and revenues are falling.

He confirmed Star’s plans to launch regional channels in the country in six to 12 months to capitalize on the rapid development in the mass market and its ever-growing viewership.

He also talked about the importance of localization and adapting different strategies for different Asian countries. For instance, in Indonesia, where cable and satellite TV development is still at its early stages, Star is taking a 20% stake in local free-to-air network ANTV.

Expansion has been hampered by regulation and ownership restrictions, he said, especially in Indonesia and China.

While putting a positive spin on significant exec shuffles in India, Aiello emphasized that Star’s Asia strategy is a long-term one. “The challenges are enormous, and there are probably some dark days,” he admitted.

Casbaa kicked off Tuesday and ends Friday.

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