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GERMANY

Studio Hamburg pulled in a record 413 million marks ($227 million) in revenues last year, a 30% increase over the previous year, according to managing director Martin Willich.

In addition to the $50 million gain in revenue, the studio enjoyed pretax profits of $6.4 million compared with $5.2 million in 1997. While the company’s production and consulting branches saw 50% growth, actual film shooting experienced only a modest increase.

This year the studio, a subsidiary of pubcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), for the first time is expecting higher revenues from outside the Hamburg area.

INDIA

Vijay TV, a Tamil-language satellite channel that recently was acquired by the United TV Group from liquor baron Vijay Mallya, is rebranding itself as a channel for young Tamilians.

Vijay TV plans to spend $8 million for new programming and capital equipment.

The channel will be relaunched Friday. Vijay expects to have revenues of $9 million from advertising in 1999-2000.

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India’s state broadcaster Doordarshan is seeking to be the exclusive licensee for providing direct-to-home (DTH) services in India.

In a proposal to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, Doordarshan suggested that the license should be for 15 years. The national network wants an exclusive hold over DTH for five years and then would allow the coming in of competitors.

The state-owned network also seeks control of subscriber management and wants to be the sole gateway for international channels wanting to be part of any DTH platform in India.

The proposal is being considered by the ministry and may be put forth as an option to the ministers panel on DTH.

AUSTRALIA

Flying in the face of the conservative federal government’s slashing of public film production coin by 30% over the last five years, the Victorian conservative state government has announced a funding increase of A$12 million ($7.9 million) as part of a $250 million pre-election vote-buying spending spree.

The film coin is to be doled out over four years via two initiatives, the establishment of a Production Investment Attraction Fund and a significant coin boost for the Script Development Fund.