Seven Network buys ABC's Asian satellite service

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SYDNEY -- Kerry Stokes' Seven Network national television, in which Rupert Murdoch holds a strategic 15%, has paid the Federal Government about $8m to buy the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Asian satellite service which covers South-East Asia, a portion of China and the southwestern Pacific.

The purchase of Australia Television (ATV) at a bargain price gives Stokes, who also controls 50% of the U.S. MGM Studios, a solid foothold in the lucrative and expanding market and continues the international expansion of Seven Network.

Seven says ATV will continue to broadcast its widely respected news services into Asia, which draws on the ABC's own network of correspondents.

Seven will add its own commercial programming, which should ensure the service's profitability.

ATV, founded in 1993, was restricted from developing a solid advertising base by the ABC's non-commercial charter and failed to attract sufficient "sponsorship" to pay the bills.

Copyright July 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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