STAR rising with Fox TV deal

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NEW DELHI -- News Corp.'s Fox Entertainment Group has formed a wholly owned Indian subsidiary, Fox Television Studios India, as a joint venture with Mumbai-based STAR India, the company said Monday.

Mumbai-based FTSI will be headed by STAR India executive vp content and communication Deepak Segal, who will report to STAR CEO Sameer Nair.

"FTSI will focus on creating original content for STAR India's various bouquet of channels such as flagship entertainment channel STAR Plus, while we also will seek to adapt foreign formats such as Fox TV's talent show 'Child Genius,' " Segal said in an interview. "Basically, FTSI will work like any other production company here, just like the various independent companies with whom STAR India has long-standing relationships."

Segal said that FTSI will have a core team of about 20 executives and focus on creative aspects "while we will outsource line production and postproduction duties, which could be a good opportunity for smaller independent production houses. At this stage, we don't have plans for setting up our own production facilities."

In terms of input from Fox Studios in Los Angeles, Segal said that FTSI will have a constant dialogue with L.A. on various issues. "In fact, there could even be a situation where an original FTSI show could end up being adapted internationally," he added.

The first slate of FTSI-produced shows is expected in the second half of next year.

"We will also focus strongly on developing content for growing platforms such as mobiles, IPTV, direct-to-home, and so on," said Segal, who added that FTSI will first develop content exclusively for STAR India for three years, after which it will be free to work for other broadcasters as well.

Meanwhile, with Segal heading FTSI with immediate effect, his position at STAR India will be jointly handled by senior creative director Shailja Kejriwal and STAR Network general manager Harsh Rohatgi. FTSI will operate out of STAR India offices for the time being.
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