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Murdoch moves in on the Middle East
The launch of Fox International’s hub in Abu Dhabi illustrates the media mogul’s desire for regional expansion.
March 7, 2010 1:54 by Aarti Nagraj
D’Silva also said that FIC is planning to expand further. “We want to do more. Not only do we want to launch more channels, but we are looking for ways to innovate in terms of what kind of content we put on air,” he said. “Definitely as far as local production, there will be something from Rotana group and Fox,” he added.
Apart from Rotana, News Corp also launched the National Geographic Abu Dhabi Channel, another free- to-air satellite channel in the region, in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC) in July 2009.
Star Network, News Corp’s Asian venture, broadcasts several channels, many of which, including Star Plus, Star Gold and Star One are available in the Middle East. Although they primarily broadcast programming done in India, the group has slowly started doing a few regional shows as well. Earlier this year, the network aired a daily short program called “Deal of the Day” on some of its channels, discussing the best deals available during the Dubai Shopping Festival.
Star officials say that they are planning to introduce more local content going forward.
As of December 31, 2009, News Corp’s assets equaled around $56 billion, and it reported total annual revenues of approximately $30 billion. While Murdoch is certainly hoping to milk the Middle Eastern market to make those numbers grow, the region too will probably benefit from the exposure – a win-win situation for both, it seems.