News Corp's Asian satellite platform Star TV, which this week launched two channels in the UK, is months away from setting up a British pay-per-view (PPV) service for Hindi movies.
Peter Mukerjea, chief executive of News Television (India), told Screen International that the Hindi film services would be operational "within a matter of months, rather than years." He added that PPV would be the preferred format, although Star is also considering importing its Hindi Classic movie channel to the UK. Other Star channels that could translate include youth oriented Channel B and a sports channel.
The first two channels, Star News and general entertainment programmer Star Plus, were launched at the beginning of this week and initially will only be available on the BSkyB digital platform. Although James Murdoch, Star's chairman and chief executive, said the Asian market in the UK was "underserved," the new channels will go head to head with Sony's Indian service and Zee TV.
Murdoch also said that while Star Plus and Star News will initially only be broadcast to the UK, via spot beam satellite, he said that the group is currently in discussions concerning carriage on several cable networks in continental Europe, where the Indian diaspora is growing.
Arun Mohan, executive vice president of News Television (India), said that the group is aiming to have 10% of the UK's half million Indian households as subscribers within a year. The package will be free until mid-March and then be charged for at £16 per month.