Media: Talk of the Trade: Chinese take-away

HAS Rupert Murdoch set his sights on World Service Television, the BBC's commercial 24- hour global network? Probably not, but there was some trembling at the Beeb when he came close to acquiring 40 per cent of Star TV, the Hong Kong satellite company that distributes World Service programming to 45 million viewers across China and south-east Asia.

Star is still seeking outside investment even though for the time being Murdoch has dropped his other plan to take a stake in a Hong Kong company, Television Broadcasts Ltd, which hopes to rival Star's five satellite channels. It is all a cause for worry at WSTV, although the BBC has a 10-year contract with Star giving it a veto on purchasers.

The newsletter Cable and Satellite Express reports this week that WSTV is a liability to Star because its news reports upset China, where 4.8 million homes receive its programmes. However, Peking, which withdrew WSTV's licence to broadcast there for political reasons last year, has restored it.

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