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Star beams up on India revenues

BS Corporate Bureau in New Delhi | October 24, 2003 18:23 IST

India has driven Star's growth and profitability in Asia, News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch said at the annual general meeting of the company's shareholders at Adelaide, Australia, on October 15.

Star's growth in India comes at a time when it has suffered start-up losses in countries such as China and other Asian countries.

"We started to reap the rewards of our long-held faith and our years of hard work at Star in Asia. Star's strength, particularly in India, fuelled its first ever full year of profitability, even as the platform absorbed start-up losses in mainland China and elsewhere in Asia," Murdoch said at the AGM.

According to estimates, Star India has booked revenues of $200 million in 2002. This is about 70 per cent of Star's Asian revenues.

The company is taking aggressive steps to further increase its revenue in India. As a part of this plan, the company had cut the subscription rate for its services and asked cable operators for a higher declaration of subscribers.

The company's premier channel Star Plus is estimated to reach about 40 million cable and satellite homes out of the total cable and satellite universe of about 42 million. Besides, the company is also drawing up plans to increase the reach of its other channels in India.

As per present estimates, subscription revenues account for about 70 per cent of the Star India' revenues. The remaining comes from advertising.

As a part of its expansion plans in the country, the company also plans to enter direct-to-home satellite television distribution system in India in partnership with an Indian company.

Besides, the company also has interest in the country's cable operating companies with about 26 per cent interest in Hathway.

Star, a wholly owned subsidiary of News Corp, is Asia's leading multi-platform content and service provider. Star's 40 distributed services in eight languages reach more than 300 million viewers across 53 Asian countries.

Star channels in India include Star Plus, Star World, Channel [V], ESPN, Star Sports, Star Movies, Star Gold, Star News, National Geographic Channel and Star Vijay.

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