Natgeo Asia snaps up senior Star TV exec

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HONG KONG--National Geographic Channel Asia is getting a new managing director drawn from Star TV, the News Corp.-owned Asian TV service. Ward Platt, the channel's new head, had been Star TV senior VP-distribution and business development.

News Corp., through its Fox Entertainment Group unit, is one of three joint venture partners in National Geographic Channel Asia. The others are National Geographic Television and NBC. The channel's headquarters were moved earlier this year to Star TV headquarters in Hong Kong from Singapore.

Mr. Platt will be responsible for managing business operations through-out Asia and the Middle East for National Geographic Channel, including development of strategic business initiatives, programming, marketing,affiliates sales and distribution, advertising sales, and on-air promotions, as well as the legal, finance and administrative departments.

Launched in July 1998, National Geographic Channel Asia is currently distributed to 17 million homes in China and 13 million homes elsewhere in Asia.

No permanent managing director had been appointed at the channel since its relocation to Hong Kong.

Mr. Platt pursued channel and distribution development for Star TV throughout Asia, including the network's formation of a joint venture with Cable & Wireless HKT last month to launch an integrated digital television/broadband Internet service for Hong Kong. Before joining Star TV in 1997, Mr. Platt, a U.S. native, worked for five years with Continental Cablevision and itsaffiliates in both Singapore and Boston.

Copyright December 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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