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Murdoch to shake up Star

July 29, 2009

James Murdoch is planning a sweeping shake-up of the Star television operations. The move will involve a sharp cut in jobs in Hong Kong and the rest of the region, as the group aims to cut costs and consolidate overlapping operations, reports the FT.

Star's Indian operation, which generates the most profits for the group in Asia and reports to Hong Kong, will become independent and start reporting directly to James Murdoch, who is based in London, where he has been head of News Corp's Asian and European operations since 2007.

Under the Asian plans, News Corp aims to eliminate overlap between Star, which operates 60 channels in 13 languages and is distributed in 53 Asian countries, and Fox International Channels, which distributes the cable networks FX, National Geographic and other channels in the region. The plans, yet to be finalised, are part of News Corp's global rethinking of its business at a time when media consumption has drifted online. It is aiming to control costs across its portfolio after reporting a 47 per cent decline in operating profit in the first three months of the year.

News Corp's Star India business accounts for $400m in sales per year, more than 75 per cent of regional revenue. But amid growing competition, profit in June this year is estimated to have fallen to $35m or less, compared with $76m in June 2008, according to the Media Partners Asia.

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