DTH satellite TV begins in Indonesia

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JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Asia's first tiered digital direct-to- home satellite TV service launched in Indonesia on February 4, offering a package of 19 mainly international channels. The Indovision platform, managed by Rupert Murdoch's Hong Kong-based Star TV, includes three regional movie channels - HBO, Star Movies and MGM Gold - as well as the world's first Bahasa-language film channel, Film Indonesia.

Other regional and international programming includes Star Sports; ESPN; CNN International; NBC Asia's business channel, CNBC and general entertainment channel NBC; BBC World; TNT & Cartoon Network; the Discovery Channel; Star TV's music channels Channel V Asia and the English-language Channel V International; and an Indonesian version of Star TV's Star Plus general entertainment channel. Indonesia terrestrial broadcaster, Rajawali Citra Televisi Indonesia (RCTI), will program three channels: Citra Junior for children, Citra Melati for women and Citra Hiburan for general family viewing.

Indovision's digital launch has raised hopes for Indonesia's sluggish pay-TV market. Indovision's five-channel analogue package has been on the market for three years and has attracted no more than 30,000 subscribers. The five analogue channels are CNNI, TNT & Cartoon Network, ESPN, the Discovery Channel and HBO.

Separately, Asia Business News (ABN), the 24-hour business news TV service, has secured a deal allowing RCTI, Indonesia's leading commercial broadcaster, excerption rights to ABN programming. RCTI reaches more than 27 million households nationwide. Headquarted in Hong Kong, ABN is jointly owned by Dow Jones & Co. and Tele-Communications International.

Copyright February 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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