Rivals force India's Doordarshan to revive DTH broadcasting plans

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BOMBAY -- India's state-run TV broadcaster Doordarshan is contemplating the revival of a plan to enter direct-to-home (DTH) broadcasting in collaboration with Malaysia's Measat.

The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in New Delhi will soon apply to the council of cabinet ministers for permission to renew a memorandum of understanding with Measat. The memorandum to provide DTH services lapsed August 30 when the state-owned network failed to draw up a concrete plan.

Though the decision to let the memorandum lapse was in keeping with the anti-foreign TV hysteria among varying political parties about four months ago, Rupert Murdoch's plans to enter DTH is said to have caused a rethink.

Both Hong Kong-based and News Corp.-owned Star TV and Bombay-based native Hindustani-language satellite broadcaster Zee Network's plan to launch DTH services. Zee, owned 50.1% by News Corp., and Star aim to start DTH services next year. Long Beach, California-based DirecTV also has DTH plans for India, whose five-year-old satellite TV market has drawn 50 Indian and foreign channels.

Copyright November 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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