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Monday, 25 February, 2002, 14:04 GMT
Murdoch 'launches Asian film house'
James Murdoch (L), chairman and CEO of the Star TV, Zhao Huayong (C), chairman of China Central Television (CCTV), and Wang Changli (R), chairman of Guangdong Cable TV Networks (GCTV)
Star TV's James Murdoch (L) recently signed a cable deal in China
Rupert Murdoch is to launch a new film production and distribution house for the Asian market, according to reports.

The media giant's Star TV satellite network has set up Fortune Star Pictures to build a distribution network around South East Asia, said ScreenDaily.com.

The company will not only distribute to cinemas but will also release straight to DVD or to local television as local conditions dictate, says the report.

Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch's Star TV has a 38-country footprint
Heading the new company will be two former Media Asia executives, deputy general manager Peter Poon and production head group Michael Mak.

"We are expected to recoup our costs from distribution," Mr Poon is quoted as saying.

Fortune Pictures is reported as aiming to copy the South East Asia distribution network that Mr Poon built at his previous company.

Projects

Releases will be supported by Star TV, which has a 38-country satellite footprint in the region - but will have an arm's length relationship with the new company.

Murdoch's News Corp also owns the Fox network
Murdoch's News Corp also owns the Fox network
The company has a number of film projects in development and is planning to put the first ones into production by the end of 2002, the report adds.

It is said to want to produce four to five local pictures a year at first, with budgets of about $1.5m (1m) per picture and a couple of larger movies as co-productions, for an international audience.

The company already has relationships with Raintree Pictures in Singapore and is developing links in China, allowing its film projects to be considered as local productions.

Fortune Pictures will also produce TV programmes including documentaries and library material.

See also:

28 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
Murdoch: Still going strong at 70
20 Dec 01 | TV and Radio
Murdoch wins China cable TV deal
23 Oct 01 | TV and Radio
AOL strikes China TV deal
06 Sep 01 | Business
China offers Murdoch TV deal
16 Aug 01 | Business
Murdoch's News Corp profits fall
16 Jul 01 | Entertainment
Murdoch heads media power list
18 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Murdoch targets UK Asians
03 Dec 01 | Business
China's cable TV shake up
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