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News Corp forms Fox Television Studios India; Deepak Segal is head

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MUMBAI: Star India looks to be aiming to move a significant part of its production activities, particularly relating to format shows and advertiser funded programming (AFP), in house.

For that purpose, News Corp's Fox Entertainment Group has set up a wholly owned subsidiary Fox Television Studios India Pvt Ltd (FTSI) and put Star India executive vice-president content and communication Deepak Segal in charge of leading it. Segal, who is currently "on deputation" to FTSI from Star, will officially move to the new company once it is fully operational. Segal summed up the broad logic of the move by News Corp as "backward integration".

FTSI is setting up relevant infrastructure for creating channel, pre-production, production and post-production facilities for content and storage of content.

The format shows produced by FTSI will have a mix of product developed in India as well as those licensed from abroad and adapted for telecast in India, Segal reveals.

According to Segal, while FTSI's focus is on formats and AFPs, his team is working on a narrative show as well. Queried as to when any of these shows were expected to go on air, Segal said it would only be in the next fiscal. A point of note is that Star's financial year is from 1 July to 30 June.

As regards the executive structure within Star following Segal's departure, it will more or less follow the changes incorporated in July 2005 when new portfolios were created for Shailja Kejriwal as senior creative director - Star network and Harsh Rohatgi as GM - Star network.

While Kejriwal oversees programming and on-air promotions, Rohatgi is responsible for broadcast operations, network planning and presentation.

About the only change in terms of functionality would be that Channel [V] head honcho Amar Deb, who used to report to Segal, now reports directly in to Star Entertainment India CEO Sameer Nair.

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