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‘Titanic’ tops big pix ready for India’s Star

'Anastasia,' other hits in pipeline

BOMBAY — Satellite television audiences in India soon will be able to watch the highest-grossing film of all time, “Titanic” by the first quarter of 1999. Other U.S. hits like “Anastasia” are also in the pipeline, thanks to some deals signed up by Star TV with the world’s biggest movie companies.

Star TV has just firmed up library deals with Columbia Pictures, Warner Bros. and MGM. The deals allow the satcaster’s 24-hour movie channel, Star Movies, to feature recent hits. The MGM deal was sealed in June.

Star TV has also outlined its plans to move into the city-specific and local viewership market in the country and abroad. The group is working out plans to launch Bengali, Gujarati and Marathi channels. The plan includes swapping programs between these channels and the either the Star or city-specific channels abroad in locations with a high density of Indian population.

Star TV is set to tie up with U.S.-based Ethnic American Broadcasting Corp. to offer six hourlong slots on its Star band for city-specific telecasts. The telecasts in some of the U.S. cities will begin in October.

Star TV’s plans for the fiscal year (which started in July), includes transforming all of the six Star channels to digital.

Channel V will go digital by the end of the month, along with the latest 24-hour English channel, Star World, launched earlier this month. The other channels under Star TV are Star Plus, Star Sports and Star News.

Star network uses the C-Band transponders of AsiaSat 1 and AsiaSat 2. These two transponders, which can accommodate eight to nine channels, have a wider penetration and can easily be accessed by using ordinary dish antennas in Mauritius and some of the islands in the Indian Ocean.

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