SONY launches pay TV service AXN action TV in India

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BOMBAY -- Japanese-owned Sony Pictures Entertainment, heartened by the response given its AXN Action TV channel in the Asian region, launches the pay service in India.

AXN's launch in India complements another Sony Pictures-run channel, Sony Entertainment Television, a free-to-air service that has in three years become Asia's No. 2 Hindustani-language satellite broadcaster.

"India has always been a major part of AXN's business plan and we are pleased to bring our 100% action programming to the subcontinent two years ahead of schedule," says James Buklarewicz, Singapore-based CEO of AXN.

The English-language Indian feed will be AXN's fourth service in Asia. The channel debuted September 1997 in Taiwan as a dedicated service for that market. A feed for Japan and another for the rest of Asia are the other AXN franchises in a region that adores action movies and adventure programming. Viewership in Asia barring Japan is estimated at 5 million cabled homes.

A spokesman says AXN has yet to write a rate card for India and only then will begin approaching local advertisers for support. Ongoing efforts are mainly focused on gaining cable distribution and convincing cable operators to pay between 6 and 9 cents for each subscriber.

On the anvil is a full-fledged debut for India's southern neighbor, Sri Lanka. The island nation's hotels currently receive AXN. The channel next month will launch in Spain, followed by a 1999 debut in parts of Europe and Latin America.

Copyright October 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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