Sky TV begins ad blitz in India

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HONG KONG -- Rupert Murdoch's new digital direct-to-home (DTH) satellite service for India, Sky TV, launched April 2 a nationwide advertising campaign to publicize the service, despite the lack of a firm launch date.

The full page print adverts call on potential subscribers to "Open Your Mind ... From today, you can change the way you view TV." A contact number for further information is also supplied.

Sky TV, which will launch once a DTH license is granted by the Indian government, demonstrated its service in New Delhi last week. The 40-channel platform, which will be received by small 65cm- 85cm satellite dishes, is hoping for an April launch date.

The Indian government is still debating licensing conditions, and has presented various proposals. No timetable has been set for the licenses to be issued.

"Sky will transform television viewing in India in much the same way as our free-to-air service did six years ago," says Rathikant Basu, chief executive of Star TV, India.

Confirmed channels so far, according to Sky TV, include ESPN, Star Sports, Hallmark Entertainment, the History Channel, the Computer Channel, CNBC, NBC, Bloomberg TV, BBC World, Discovery Channel, and Granada TV from the U.K. Star TV's music service, Channel V, will be carried, along with Star Movies and other Star TV channels. Local services will be supplied by Sun TV.

News Corp partner, Zee TV, has not signed a carriage deal yet, although insiders say Zee TV's participation is "highly likely". The strained relationship between the two 50-50 joint venture partners is no secret.

Copyright April 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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