Star TV signs off in Indonesian cooperation

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JAKARTA--Hong Kong-based Star TV has severed its cooperation with Indonesia's Indovision in the marketing, distribution and technical cooperation of a satellite subscription TV platform in Indonesia.

"We decided to terminate the cooperation because we could not come to an agreement with PT Datakom Asia, which owns PT Matahari Lintas Carawala [INDOVISION], on a satisfactory way to move forward with our alliance," Bruce Churchill, deputy CEO of Star TV, said in a statement released in mid December.

Star TV stopped 11 channels of programming-- including Star World, Star Movies, Star Sports, Fox News and Phoenix Movies.

Mr. Churchill lamented the end of the relationship. "Star TV has made every effort to make the alliance with Datakom work. We have been working with Datakom for the past three years to help build an important segment of the Indonesian broadcasting industry. Enormous investment has been made by Star TV both in terms of funds, time and professional and technical expertise."

The dispute reportedly arose from Indovision's failure to meet contract terms. However, Datakom Public Affairs Manager Eddi Elison said it was due mainly to his company's plan to move its transmission from the Palapa 2 satellite to its own Cakrawarta 1 satellite.

Mr. Elison said replacement programs will include AXN, Animal Planet, I Music, Jet TV, CCTV-4, RAI, TV5, MCM, Sony Entertainment and ART. Other channels Indovision carries include HBO, Cinemax, CNBC and CNN.

Mr. Churchill says Star TV has not soured on the Indonesian market. "Even though we finally decided to split with Datakom, Star TV and its parent company, News Corporation, remain committed to the Indonesian market. We are prepared to continue investment in the Indonesian broadcasting industry."

Copyright January 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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