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DIRECTV Expands International Programming


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#1 OFFLINE   lee120

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Posted 09 December 2004 - 03:25 PM

DIRECTV Expands International Programming

DIRECTV Expands International Programming Platform to Include AASTHA Television Channel; DIRECTV Customers Now Have Access to Leading Spiritual Network in India

EL SEGUNDO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 9, 2004--DIRECTV, Inc., the leading and fastest-growing digital television service provider in the United States, today announced it has expanded its South Asian programming lineup with the launch of AASTHA Broadcasting Network, India's most prominent spiritual network. AASTHA Television Channel is now available on DIRECTV channel 2005 on an a la carte basis for $14.99 per month.

"We respect the fact that spirituality is integral to the very essence of the South Asian culture around the world and AASTHA will now be able to fill those social and spiritual needs for the U.S. audience," said Aaron McNally, vice president, International, DIRECTV, Inc. "We are delighted to have concluded an affiliation agreement with AASTHA, which is already a household name in India and throughout the South Asian diaspora. AASTHA will provide a link to India's cultural roots, customs and society to the more than two million South Asians living in the United States."

Kirit Mehta, AASTHA's chief executive officer, said, "We have joined the DIRECTV platform to be offered alongside other leading South Asian programming that DIRECTV is bringing to United States. With our programming and DIRECTV's South Asian offering that spans all genres and languages of interest to the South Asian viewers, DIRECTV will now offer the most comprehensive South Asian multi-cultural programming platform available in America. We look forward to the relationship we will have with DIRECTV as a partner, affiliate and friend. With this expansion we will strive to satisfy the deeply felt need of spirituality from the vast community of Indian residents in the United States."

The multi-year agreement with AASTHA brings to viewers in the United States the top-rated programs that have made AASTHA India's No. 1 spiritual network and preferred network to Asian Indians in Asia, Africa, Australia and Europe. The AASTHA lineup features spiritual discourses, socio-spiritual-cultural ceremonies and events, meditation techniques and devotional music. It charts the holy places of pilgrimage, elucidates on traditional festivals and focuses on Indian vedic sciences like ayurveda, yoga, astrology, crystal therapy and aroma therapy.

AASTHA broadcasts programming in Hindi, Gujarati and English. In 2005, the channel will air locally originated programming as well.

DIRECTV has developed two new base programming packages exclusively for customers who subscribe to the new international services -- BASIC ($9.99 per month) and PREFERRED CHOICE ($29.99 per month). The BASIC package offers up to 50 channels including local channels (where available), music and shopping channels. In addition to those channels offered in the BASIC package, the PREFERRED CHOICE package includes a variety of relevant English-language channels such as ESPN, CNN, The History Channel, Food Network, TNT, MTV and the Fox Movie Channel.

All new international programming on DIRECTV will be broadcast from the 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.

To order or inquire about residential pricing for these channels, consumers can call 800-378-4179. For commercial pricing, contact 888-200-4388.

About AASTHA

AASTHA Television Channel of the Mumbai headquartered AASTHA Broadcasting Network Limited -- a Mumbai (Bombay) Stock Exchange Listed public company is India's No. 1 Socio-Spiritual-Cultural Network. It was launched internationally in 4 continents of Asia, Africa, Europe and Australia in the year 2000. AASTHA is the world's first 24x7 satellite television network broadcasting India's rich socio-spiritual-cultural heritage and currently reaches over 20 million households with viewership in excess of 100 million. AASTHA caters to the vast Asian Indian populace spread worldwide, who have, as a race and ethnic group eternally placed socio-spiritual-cultural values above everything else. For more information, visit www.aasthatv.com and www.aasthasansar.com.

About DIRECTV, Inc.

DIRECTV is the nation's leading and fastest growing digital television service provider with more than 13.5 million customers. DIRECTV and the Cyclone Design logo are registered trademarks of DIRECTV, Inc., a unit of The DIRECTV Group Inc. (NYSETV). The DIRECTV Group is a world-leading provider of digital multichannel television entertainment and broadband satellite networks and services. The DIRECTV Group is 34 percent owned by Fox Entertainment Group, which is approximately 82 percent owned by News Corporation. For more information, visit www.directv.com.
Contacts
DIRECTV, Inc.
Jade Ekstedt, 310-964-3429

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