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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Star News Broadcast in India

BANGALORE, India -- As war in Iraq and continued tensions in Central Asia give people in India more reasons than ever to watch television news, Rupert Murdoch's Star Group is about to start a 24-hour news channel in India.

Star Group, which is based in Hong Kong and is owned by Murdoch's News Corporation, is Asia's largest broadcaster, beaming 40 channels of programming in eight languages, via satellite and cable, to 300 million viewers in 53 countries. And the Indian market, where Star already provides entertainment programming, is second only to China in size of potential audience -- with many fewer government restrictions on program content.

The Indian news channel, to be called Star News, is set to go on the air in early April. It will be aimed at the 41 million households in India with cable television. An additional 41 million or so Indian households have television sets that receive local over-the-air programming broadcast by government stations.

Star News will be presented in Hindi, which is India's national language but has an area of dominance still mainly confined to the northern and western parts of the country. Executives in the Star Television India unit, which is producing the program, hope a large portion of viewers will also be English speakers; these tend to be the nation's most affluent consumers.

Star News plans to use a stable of predominantly young, telegenic journalists who will offer a mix of entertainment and lifestyle features along with hard news. "We want to refine the whole category of news and make it more viewer friendly" said Peter Mukerjea, the chief executive of Star Television India, which is based in Bombay. "The average age of the current Indian news watcher is 40 years," he said, while adding that "60 percent of India is under 30."