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Star Hindi package on DirecTV priced at $ 30 a month

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MUMBAI: News Corp controlled digital television service provider DirecTV today officially announced a multi-year agreement with the Star Group making available four Star India channels as part of its new suite of international services.

As first reported on indiantelevision.com, four Star channels - Star Plus, Star One, Star News and Star Vijay - launched in the US on 2 November on the DirecTV platform.

The United States logos for Star Plus and Star News will incorporate the word 'India' to denote the Indian origin of the programming.

Also announced was the launch of CricketTicket, which will be the first-ever season-long subscription TV package for international cricket.

The new Star channels are available to both DirecTV residential and commercial customers. The HindiDirect residential package that includes Star Plus, Star One and Star News, is $29.99 per month. The TamilDirect residential package (Star Vijay) is $14.99 per month.

As regards CricketTicket, the cricket programming available is the same (Bangladesh excluded) as what is currently on ESPN Star Sports in India. What DirecTV has rights to therefore is international cricket from Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Zimbabwe. The deals run for the next four years.

The inaugural "CricketTicket season" runs till 31 March, 2005. The package is available for $199.

"The South Asian population in the US, which accounts for more than 2 million people and is one of the fastest growing communities, will now have access to the same top-rated, high-quality programming that is available in India," said Direc TV president and CEO Mitchell Stern. "We are delighted to be able to provide programming for our South Asian viewers that is informative, entertaining and relevant to their lives. These are the first of several international channels that we are rolling out and we are looking forward to providing our ethnic customers with the most compelling programming lineup available."

Star Group CEO Michelle Guthrie said, "We are excited to bring Star's innovative and record-breaking Indian programming to viewers in the United States. Our relationship with DirecTV will enable more people to enjoy the shows that have made us a household name in India and it is in line with our aim of expanding and strengthening our distribution. I have no doubt that our Indian channels, popular already in countries outside of India such as the UK, Middle East and Singapore, will be well-received in the United States."

Technical Specifications: Broadcast is from 95-degree West Longitude (WL) orbital slot, requiring customers to use a new 36-inch dish capable of receiving programming from 95 degrees WL, as well as DirecTV's primary orbital slot at 101 degrees WL. In some markets, customers who subscribe to a local channels package will require a second smaller dish.

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