Advanced Television

Big restructure at Star

August 19, 2009

News Corp has unveiled details of a shake-up of its Hong Kong-based Star television group as James Murdoch, chairman and chief executive for Europe and Asia, looks to cut costs and consolidate overlapping businesses in the region. About 150-200 jobs at Star are expected to go in the Hong Kong office over the next 12 months and the company said it did not rule out further job losses. Paul Aiello, chief executive of Star, will leave the company in December.

Star has about 400m viewers, operates 60 channels in 13 languages and is distributed in 53 Asian countries. Fox International Channels distributes the cable networks FX, National Geographic and other channels in the region. Under the proposals, all the English-language channels run by Star will be managed by Fox International Channels.

News Corp's Asian broadcast business will be restructured into three units – Star India, Star Greater China and Fox International Channels – and News Corp will establish an office in Hong Kong for the first time. Following the shake-up John Lau, Star's president of China and Taiwan, and Uday Shankar, chief executive of Star India, will both report to James Murdoch.

Star generates about $1bn in revenue a year, of which the Indian operations contribute about 75-80 per cent. James Murdoch headed Star between 2000 and 2003, where he helped to turn round the business that his father, Rupert, acquired in 1993 from Richard Li, the Hong Kong tycoon.

James Murdoch, who is based in London, has been head of News Corp's Asian and European operations since 2007.


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