Monday, August 24, 2009

Star's local channels to shift uplinking from Hong Kong to India

News Corp's restructuring of its Asian broadcasting subsidiary Star TV will include a shift in uplinking from Hong Kong to India of all its channels carrying India-based entertainment. In what could be a first phase movement, the India-based channels like Star Plus, Star One, Channel [V] and Star Gold would move their uplinking operations to India.

Subsequently, Star may decide to also shift the uplinking of its primarily foreign-based entertainment channels like Star Movies and Star World to India, according to a source in the company. "We may then increase local content on the Indian feed of channels like Star Movies and Star World. The advertiser base will also expand," the source says. Star, which spends over $20 million annually for the uplink of over 35 channels from Hong Kong, will also be savings costs by relocating the base for the Indian viewers.

The shift in uplinking base is in line with News Corp's decision to divide its Asian broadcast business into three distinct entities – Star India, Star Greater China and Fox International Channels. News Corp. has already initiated the process of scaling down its operations in Hong Kong and the restructuring exercise may be complete by December. Currently, Star TV uplinks all channels aimed at Indian viewers from Hong Kong. Star India, which has only the landing rights (downlink permission), will have to apply to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry for both uplinking and downlinking permission.

Meanwhile, I&B Ministry sources today denied the government had received any application from Star India for uplinking all its local-based television channels from India. Sources added that the government would in principle have no objection to granting permission as long as the Uplinking Guidelines 2005 are followed. "In any case, this would also mean some saving in foreign exchange, since Star India pays for the uplinking from Hong Kong,"

- Indian Television

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