Murdoch's son to spearhead Star TV's music channel

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By Laurel Wentz

[Seoul] Satellite broadcaster Star TV is combining two strategies in rolling out its music channel, called simply V, around Asia: localization and targeting the youth market created by the rapid growth of an Asian middle class.

"Localization is at the heart of channel V," said Lachlan Murdoch, the twentysomething son of Rupert Murdoch who is targeting his own generation as vice-chairman of Star TV, Hong Kong, and deputy chief executive of parent company News Ltd, Sydney. "It makes no more sense to program a channel for Mumbai from Hong Kong than from Hollywood."

V enters its fourth market, Thailand, next month with a 24-hour channel dedicated to Thai music. Mr. Murdoch said in an interview with Ad Age after his speech to the IAA Congress on Monday that he hopes to launch V in Indonesia and Japan in the next year.

Mr. Murdoch said that most of the world's fastest growing music markets are in Asia. Little comprehensive research exists, but a recent Star survey of 450 14-to-30-year-olds in India who had just bought a popular CD found that 32% cited V when asked where they had first heard it. And V drew 650,000 entries for a competition around China's top music awards, he said.

Mr. Murdoch said that currently about one in five Asian homes have cable or satellite TV. By 2005, one-third of all homes, or about 178 million households, will have cable or satellite, he said.

He told Ad Age that the company hopes to eventually launch V channels in Europe.

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