Murdoch's Star signs deal to boost Chinese film sales

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The Independent Online
STAR TV, the Hong Kong broadcaster in which Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation has a two-thirds stake, is hoping to boost revenues from its extensive stock of Chinese-language films with a new distribution deal.

It has signed a five-year worldwide exclusive agreement with Media Asia Distribution, a subsidiary of Media Asia Holdings, to explore better ways of using the library, such as video and cable.

However, Gary Davey, Star's chief executive, said distribution had to be co-ordinated with the requirements of Star Movies, the network's subscription-based movie channel.

Star owns the world's largest collection of contemporary Chinese films, and the deal includes most of the Golden Harvest and Golden Princess film libraries, about 517 films in total. It hopes to find a market for its films among expatriate Chinese communities in the West and Asia.

The agreement signals a deepening of Star's relationship with Media Asia Holdings. The group was recently set up by two Hong Kong film producers, Ma Fung-kwok and Wellington Fung, to supply 64 films to Star after their cinema and video release.

Separately, the European Commission said it would allow News International to acquire a 49.9 per cent stake in Vox, the German TV channel.