Fox Networks Group Asia Pacific
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|Quford Limited (August 31 1990 - January 31 1991)|
Hutchvision Channel Services Limited (January 31 1991 - 4 July 1991)
Satellite Television Asian Region Limited (4 July 1991 – 2 September 2014)
Fox International Channels Asia Pacific Limited (2 September 2014 – 29 February 2016)
Star TV (former trade name)
Star (former trade name)
|Founded||27 August 1990in Hong Kong (as Star TV)|
|Headquarters||13/F One Harbourfront, 18 Tak Fung Street, Area of Hung Hom, Kowloon City District,|
|Products||Subscription-based television network|
|Owner||Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International|
|Parent||Fox Networks Group|
Fox Networks Group Asia Pacific Limited (formerly Satellite Television Asian Region Limited and Fox International Channels Asia Pacific Limited) is a Hong Kong-based commercial broadcasting company which is a part of Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International's Fox Networks Group, operating multiple specialty television channels. It was previously traded as Star TV (stylised as STAR TV) until 2001, and simply as Star until 2009. Originally established by Hutchison Whampoa and later acquired by the original News Corporation, Star TV was once the prominent satellite television broadcaster in the entire Asia region. On March 20, 2019 Following Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets, FNG Asia and Star India, became a part of Disney and the FNG Asia Pacific was integrated into Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer and International unit.
The company was originally registered to the Companies Registry of Hong Kong as Quford Limited on 31 August 1990. The company was renamed Hutchvision Channel Services Limited on 31 January 1991, before becoming Satellite Television Asian Region Limited (Chinese: 衛星電視有限公司; lit.: 'Satellite Television Limited') on 4 July 1991. It was established by Hutchison Whampoa, and was headed by Richard Li (son of Li Ka-Shing, the founder of Cheung Kong which owns Hutchison Whampoa).
The company operated its television channels under the blanket brand of Star TV (Chinese: 衛星電視; pinyin: Wèixīng Diànshì; lit.: 'Satellite Television'). In its initial years, the channels were broadcast over AsiaSat 1 communication satellite operated by Asia Satellite Telecommunications, which was a consortium of Hutchison Whampoa, China International Trust and Investment Corporation and Cable & Wireless Worldwide. As with the satellite's footprint, the channels reached from the Far East to the Middle East. Star TV's initial line-up of advertisement-supported five free-to-air channels included:
- Prime Sports (體育台; launched on 26 August 1991): 24-hour clock multi-sport television channel broadcast in English and Chinese; joint venture with TCI in the United States which owned Prime Network.
- MTV (音樂台; launched on 15 September 1991): 24-hour clock music channel broadcast in English, Hindi and Chinese, focused on pop music; regional version of the American TV channel of the same name.
- Chinese Channel (中文台; launched on 21 October 1991): 24-hour clock all full Mandarin Chinese variety entertainment channel that showcased full Chinese language content provided by TVB and ATV in Hong Kong broadcasts from Mainland China; also showed television series from other Greater China countries including China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Singapore.
- WSTV (新聞台; launched on 15 November 1991): 24-hour clock news, current affairs and information from the BBC; unlike the European counterpart, this version of BBC World Service Television did not air variety entertainment programmes, as they were shown on Star Plus.
- Star Plus (娛樂台; launched on 15 December 1991): 24-hour clock English language variety entertainment channel which showed dramas and variety shows from English-speaking countries including United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.
In June 1993, Star TV and Wharf Cable signed a deal in which Hong Kong's new cable television provider would carry Star TV's channels. However, the deal was terminated in February 1994 in the carriage dispute between the two parties.
Sale to News Corporation
Star TV's viewership across Asia have increased over the years, and it attracted advertisers. But the business was making loss. The company has been looking for an Anglophone partner for financial investments, additional English language programming and technical assistance, especially to launch a pay-television system that would carry encrypted channels.
By late April 1993, Pearson approached Star TV's owners, and was expected to pay up to GBP 100 million. Pearson (which owned minor stake in British broadcasters BSkyB and Yorkshire-Tyne Tees Television at the time, and have just acquired Thames Television) has been looking to expand its media business outside the UK, especially because the British laws at that time did not allow Pearson to expand more on UK television business. Pearson was looking for the 66% of the company, but the deal was reported to have required the Hong Kong side to remain active shareholders, making the deal to be turned down.
The initial negotiations with Rupert Murdoch were reported to have foundered after the Australian businessman demanded a controlling stake in the Hong Kong company. But in July 1993, Murdoch's News Corporation have managed to purchase 63.6% of Star TV for US$525 million, half in cash, half in News Corporation's ordinary shares, blocking offers from Pearson. The deal came after News Corporation failed to acquire 22% of TVB because of regulatory issues. News Corporation acquired the remaining 36.4% for US$299 million in July 1995. Li family and Hutchison Whampoa would retain its shares in Hutchvision Hong Kong Limited, which uplinked Star TV's channels. With the amount of money made from the 1993 sale, Richard Li went on to establish his own venture, Pacific Century Group.
In August 1993, following News Corporation's takeover, Julian Mounter resigned as Chief Executive of the company. Sam Chisholm, who was the head of BSkyB at the time, became acting Chief Executive before he was formally appointed.
With the controversial removal of BBC World Service Television from the company's satellite television offerings for Northeast Asia in 1994 (discussed below), Star TV replaced the BBC channel with three channels, International news channel CNN International, English-language film channel Star Movies and Chinese-language film channel Star Chinese Movies,
Star TV and MTV ended partnership that supplied music television programming, so Star TV launched Channel V to replace the American brand. The Indian version was launched in May 1994, it was followed by four additional versions: Channel V International, Channel V Thailand, Channel V Korea, Channel V Japan, and another three versions in Mandarin Chinese, Vietnamese and Cantonese.
On 30 March 1996 at 7 pm Hong Kong Time, Star TV split into Star Plus and Star Chinese Channel by certain areas:
- Star Plus would continue to serve viewers in South Asia and the Middle East, while East and Southeast Asian viewers would receive the newly relaunched Star World channel
- Star Chinese Channel would still be available to the viewers in Taiwan, but the television watchers in Hong Kong and the Mainland China would get the new Phoenix Chinese Channel instead.
On 6 May 1996, Star TV launched Viva Cinema, the 24-hour Filipino film channel, in partnership with Viva Entertainment. STAR later exited from the partnership and did not renew their contract, and the channel was relaunched as Pinoy Box Office on August 1, 2003.
In October 1996, Star Sports (since renamed from Prime Sports) and ESPN Asia have agreed to combine their loss making operations in Asia. The new joint venture, later named ESPN Star Sports, would be headquartered in Singapore (where ESPN's operations in Asia were based in).
On 18 February 1998, Star TV launched Star News, a news channel targeting India, in partnership with NDTV. It switched partner to ABP Group in 2003, before Star India completely gave up and sold their share in 2012.
In May 1999, Star TV migrated its services from AsiaSat 1 and 2 to AsiaSat 3S.
Later, Zee TV ended partnership with Star TV. The Hong Kong-based company converted Star Plus to a Hindi entertainment channel, and introduced Star World in the area as an English entertainment replacement.
In February 2001, The company rebranded from Star TV to Star, reflecting the company's evolution from a television brand to a multi-service, multi-platform brand. In Chinese, the company referred itself as Xīngkōng Chuánméi (Chinese: 星空傳媒; lit.: 'Star Media') instead of Wèixīng Diànshì from then on. It introduced a new set of logos. The logo scheme of the Star network (the name of the channel next to the Star logo icon, contained within a rectangle with two opposite corners rounded) that had been used throughout 2007.
2009 restructure, refocus on East and Southeast Asia
On 19 August 2009, News Corporation announced a restructure of Star. Star India and Star Greater China would be separated from Star's headquarters in Hong Kong, and the heads of the former two companies would report directly to James Murdoch, News Corporation's then-Chairman and Chief Executive for Europe and Asia.
- Star India took over all of Star's operations in India, as well as sales and distribution of Fox-branded channels in the region. It also took over Star's distribution offices in the Middle East, the United Kingdom and the United States.
- Star Greater China would oversee Star Chinese Channel, Star Chinese Movies, Star Chinese Movies 2, Xing Kong and Channel V Mainland China, as well as Fortune Star film library.
- The original Star TV company became Fox International Channels Asia Pacific, and would now focus on East and Southeast Asia. It also took over the representation of FIC channels from NGC Network Asia, LLC (the channels that were distributed by Star anyway). The company would continue to distribute its channels in the Middle East, and would take responsibility of the distribution of Star India and Star Greater China's channels in Asia outside their home markets.
Despite the 2009 reorganisations, the company did not immediately change its legal name from Satellite Television Asian Region Limited. It only changed legal name to Fox International Channels Asia Pacific Limited (Chinese: 福斯國際電視網有限公司; lit.: 'Fox International Television Network Limited') on 2 September 2014.
In August 2010, it was announced that News Corporation would sell a controlling stake in its assets in mainland China to China Media Capital (CMC). Xing Kong (both domestic and international versions) and Channel V Mainland China, plus Fortune Star film library were in the sale, and a joint venture named Star China Media was created in the process. CMC acquired the remaining stake in Star China Media in January 2014.
In June 2012, it was announced that News Corporation would buy ESPN International's share in the joint venture ESPN Star Sports. The versions of ESPN broadcast in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Southeast Asia were rebranded as Fox Sports on 28 January 2013, and Star Sports became Fox Sports 2 on 15 August 2014. The Fox Sports rebrand did not affect India and East Asia: In India, Star India took over ESPN Star Sports' Indian subsidiary, and kept the ESPN name until 6 November 2013, when all of Star India's sports channels were relaunched under the Star Sports brand; a version of Star Sports broadcast to mainland China and South Korea kept the brand, and instead, the version of ESPN for mainland China was renamed Star Sports 2 on 1 January 2014.
In the wake of 2011 News Corporation scandals, the original News Corporation was split into 21st Century Fox and the new News Corp on 28 June 2013, with the television businesses (which FIC Asia was a part of) going to 21st Century Fox.
In October 2013, 12.15% of share in Phoenix Television held by 21st Century Fox (through Star) was sold to TPG Capital for HK$1.66 billion (about US$213.73 million). This and 2014 sale of Star China Media marked 21st Century Fox's exit from Mandarin entertainment television market in mainland China.
By 2014, Fox International Channels Middle East took over the distribution of Star World, Star Movies, National Geographic-branded channels, Fox-branded channels, Channel V International, Baby TV and Sky News in the Middle East and North Africa from Star Select. (Now renamed Fox Networks Group Middle East, the Middle East business is, together with FNG Asia Pacific, still a part of the wider FNG Asia operations.)
In January 2016, the company's parent unit, Fox International Channels, was announced to be split into three divisions, which would see the heads of newly renamed Fox Networks Group Europe, Fox Networks Group Latin America and Fox Networks Group Asia all reporting to CEO Peter Rice and COO Randy Freer at Fox Networks Group in the United States, thus abolishing Fox International Channels as a separate unit from 21st Century Fox's television business in the U.S. Accordingly, the company changed legal name to Fox Networks Group Asia Pacific Limited (Chinese: 福斯傳媒有限公司; lit.: 'Fox Media Limited') on 29 February 2016.
On 5 December 2017, Star India's Chairman and CEO Uday Shankar was appointed as 21st Century Fox's president for Asia, and the President of Fox Networks Group Asia would report directly to Shankar (instead of the equivalent at FNG U.S.).
With the acquisition of 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets by The Walt Disney Company, FNG Asia Pacific (including FNG Taiwan, and FNG's remaining businesses in mainland China), as well as Star India, became a part of Disney and FNG Asia were integrated into Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International unit. Fox Network Group Asia was split into three, as to plug into the Disney International structure with offices in Shanghai (Northern Asia), Mumbai (India) and Singapore (Southeast Asia). The reconfiguration and layoff began on 29 June 2020 with layoff focused on FNG Asia's Hung Hom, Kowloon headquarters, which dates back to the 1993 acquisition by a 21st Century Fox predecessor of PCCW.
List of channels provided
- Fox – a 24-hour Southeast Asian entertaiment channel.
- FX – a 24-hour channel offering a broad mix programming targeted at male audiences including comedy, action sports, drama series, reality shows, cars and swimsuit model programs. It is available in Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, India, Indonesia and Malaysia only.
- Fox Sports – a 24-hour sports channel.
- Fox Life – a 24-hour channel offering a broad programming of television series, sitcoms and movies programs. It is available in Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, India, Indonesia and Malaysia only.
- Fox Movies – a 24-hour English movie channel which broadcast toAvailable in Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Taiwan, Thailand, Micronesia, Myanmar, Maldives, Cambodia, Brunei, Fiji, Guam, Laos and Vietnam.
- Fox Action Movies
- Fox Family Movies – a 24-hour Southeast Asian movie channel.
- Fox Crime – the first and only 24-hour factual and fictional entertainment television channel dedicated to crime, investigation and mystery. Available in Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Middle East and South Korea.
- National Geographic Channel – a 24-hour channel available in HD.
- Nat Geo Wild – a 24-hour channel available in Singapore, Hong Kong, Middle East, Republic of China, Thailand, Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka.
- Nat Geo People – formerly known as A1 and Nat Geo Adventure.
- Star Chinese Channel – a 24-hour Mandarin general entertainment channel for audiences in Taiwan and beyond. It is one of the five original Star TV channels when it launched on 21 October 1991. Available on Taiwan (Main Version) and International Version (Available On Hong Kong, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Middle East, USA and Canada).
- Star Chinese Movies – a 24-hour Cantonese and Mandarin movie channel. One of the five original Star TV channels when it launched on 1 May 1994 as "Star Mandarin Movies" and re-launched on 31 March 1996 as "Star Chinese Movies". Available on (Main Version) in Taiwan and Hong Kong and (International Version) on Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Middle East, USA and Canada)
- Star Chinese Movies Legend – (Former Known STAR Chinese Movies 2) a 24-hour Cantonese and Mandarin movie channel that shows popular Chinese box-office hits from the 1970 until 1993. It is currently available in Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Macau, Indonesia, Middle East and Malaysia.
- Star Entertainment Channel: The Pay TV Version Only Available in Taiwan
- Star Movies – a 24-hour English movie channel which is available in India, Middle East and Taiwan.
- Star Sports China and South Korea – a 24-hour sports channel which is the evolution of Prime Sports devoted to different sporting events, such as cricket, auto racing, golf, and many more. It was also broadcast by ESPN Star Sports and one of the five original Star TV channels when it launched on 21 August 1991 as "Prime Sports" and re-launched on 21 August 1993 as "Star Sports". It was formerly known as Prime Sports.
- Channel [V] – a 24-hour international music video channel. There are local versions of Channel [V] in Hong Kong, Macau, People's Republic of China, Republic of China, Philippines, India, Thailand and Australia.
- BabyTV – the first 24-hour, commercial-free channel for children under pre-schoolers. This channel is now available in Worldwide.
- Fox Filipino – a 24-hour Filipino language general entertainment channel broadcast in the Philippines.
- tvN – a 24-hour Korean language entertainment channel managed by CJ E&M, available to audiences in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia.
- Xing Kong – also known as Star Space, is a Mandarin general entertainment channel in People's Republic of China. It is available in China, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Middle East, India, and Indonesia.
- Phoenix Chinese Channel – a 24-hour Mandarin international news and entertainment channel it was launched on 31 March 1996. Available on Asia Pacific and Middle East.
- Phoenix InfoNews Channel – a 24-hour Mandarin international news channel it was launched on 1 January 2001. Available on Worldwide
- Phoenix Movies Channel – a 24-hour Mandarin movie channel in People's Republic of China it was launched on 28 August 1998. Available on China and Middle East.
- Phoenix Hong Kong Channel – a 24-hour Cantonese news and entertainment channel in Hong Kong it was launched on 28 March 2011. Available on Hong Kong, Asia Pacific (Except ASEAN), Middle East, Australia, and USA.
- antv – an Indonesian national private commercial free-to-air terrestrial television channel in Indonesia.
- Viva Cinema – a Filipino Movie Channel from Viva Films in the Philippines subsidiary of Viva Entertainment.
- BBC World Service Television (now BBC World News) – a 24-hour English news channel and one of the original Star TV channels when it launched on 15 November 1991. It was a joint venture between BBC World News and Star TV, a subsidiary of BBC International Television, a member of BBC Television, and owned by BBC. It ended its affiliation on 30 April 1994 to broadcast separate ways, and it was replaced by Star Movies (now Fox Movies) and Star Chinese Movies (now Star Chinese Movies) on 1 May 1994.
- Star News (now ABP News) – a 24-hour English and Mandarin news channel and one of the original Star TV channels when it launched on 15 November 1991. Star News ended its relationship with Star TV on 31 March 1996.
- MTV Asia – a 24-hour music video channel and one of the original Star TV channels when it launched on 15 September 1991 a joint venture between MTV Networks Asia Pacific owner by Viacom and Star TV; but it ended its affiliation on 30 April 1994 to broadcast separate ways and was replaced by Channel V.
- Prime Sports – a 24-hour English and Mandarin sports channel and one of the original Star TV channels when it launched on 21 August 1991 a joint venture between Prime Network and Star TV; but it ended its affiliation in 1995 to broadcast separate ways & it was replaced by Star Sports.
- Film Indonesia – a 24-hour Indonesian movie channel.
- Star Channel – a 24-hour Japanese movie channel.
- Star Plus – a 24-hour Indian entertainment channel.
- Star Plus Japan – a 24-hour Japanese entertainment channel.
- TechTV – a 24-hour computer channel. It was formerly seen in the Middle East via Star Select.
- EL TV – a 24-hour Hindi entertainment channel. EL TV ended its relationship with Star TV in 1999.
- Zee TV – a 24-hour Hindi entertainment channel. Zee Network ended its relationship with Star TV in 1999.
- Zee Cinema – a 24-hour Hindi movie channel. Zee Network ended its relationship with Star TV in 1999.
- CNBC Asia – a 24-hour English business news channel launched in 1996, This channel terminated within 2006 replacing CNBC Europe. It was formerly available in the Middle East via Star Select.
- CNBC Europe – a 24-hour English business news channel, formerly available on Star Select in the Middle East. This channel was terminated on 31 March 2007.
- The History Channel – a 24-hour history and biography channel in India. This channel was relaunched as Fox History and Entertainment in November 2008.
- Jetix – a 24-hour kids channel, formerly available on Star Select in the Middle East. This channel was terminated on 30 November 2008.
- Channel V Korea – a music channel, the South Korean affiliate of Channel V, launched on 16 June 2001. The channel was temporarily shut down on 31 December 2008.
- Fox News Channel a 24-hour American international news channel and it was launched on 7 October 1996.
- Sky News this United Kingdom News Channel, Available On Europe, Asia Pacific.
- ITV Granada – a 24-hour British entertainment from ITV plc now only available on Star Select in the Middle East, dropped from the line-up in the rest of Asia in 2002. It was formerly known as Granada UKTV and Granada TV.
- ESPN Star Sports – a 24-hour sports channel with broadcast by ESPN Star Sports (ESS) a joint venture with ESPN International.
- ESPNews Asia – a 24-hour sports news channel.
- Asianet – a 24-hour Indian entertainment channel and was launched on 30 August 1993.
- Asianet Plus – a 24-hour Indian movie channel. It was launched on 23 July 2005.
- Asianet Movies – a 24-hour Indian movie channel. It was launched on 15 July 2012.
- Star World – a 24-hour English entertainment channel with to Southeast Asia and one of the five original Star TV channels when it launched on 15 December 1991 as "Star Plus" and re-launched on 31 March 1996 as "Star World".
- Star Vijay – a 24-hour Indian entertainment channel. It was launched on 24 November 1994.
- Star Gold – a 24-hour Indian movie channel. It was launched on 17 September 2000.
- Star Maa – a 24-hour Indian entertainment channel. It was launched in 2002.
- Star Utsav – a 24-hour Indian entertainment channel. It was launched on 7 June 2004.
- Star Suvarna – a 24-hour Indian entertainment channel. It was launched on 17 June 2007.
- Star Jalsha – a 24-hour Indian entertainment channel. It was launched on 8 September 2008.
- Star Pravah – a 24-hour Indian entertainment channel. It was launched on 24 November 2008.
- Movies OK – a 24-hour Indian movie channel. It was launched on 6 May 2012.
- Star Maa Music – a 24-hour Indian music channel. It was launched on 18 May 2012.
- Star World Premiere – a 24-hour Indian entertainment channel that aired popular shows from the United States and was launched on 24 September 2013.
- Star Suvarna Plus – a 24-hour Indian movie channel. It was launched on 14 August 2013.
- Star Jalsha Movies – a 24-hour Indian entertainment channel and was launched on 24 September 2013.
Criticism and controversy
Removal of BBC WSTV from line-up
The BBC and Star TV originally signed a deal that the Hong Kong operator would carry the BBC channel for 10 years. But in March 1994, the BBC and Star TV reached a deal after an out of court settlement, that would gradually drop BBC World Service Television from the satellite broadcaster's offerings. BBC WSTV would be dropped from the channel line-up for the Northeast Asia by mid-April that year, but would be available in the rest of Asia until 31 March 1996. The deal came after such demands from the government of the People's Republic of China.
It is alleged that the PRC government was unhappy with BBC coverage of China, and Murdoch's September 1993 speech which declared "(telecommunications) have proved an unambiguous threat to totalitarian regimes everywhere ... satellite broadcasting makes it possible for information-hungry residents of many closed societies to bypass state-controlled television channels", so the Beijing government threatened to block Star TV in the huge mainland Chinese market if the BBC was not withdrawn. The former prime minister Li Peng requested and obtained the ban of satellite dishes throughout the country.
There were also reported concerns surrounding editorial control of BBC WSTV after News Corporation's acquisition of Star TV.
The subsequent removal of the BBC channel, and many ensuing declaration from Murdoch, led critics to believe the businessman was striving to appease the Chinese government in order to have the ban lifted. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) gave Rupert Murdoch a mock award titled "P.U.-litzer Prize" for "Media Hypocrite of the Year" in 1994.
- Fox Networks Group
- Star China Media (No longer a part of Fox Networks Group Asia Pacific)
- Star India
- Star Select
- Fox Networks Group Middle East
- PCCW: part of Richard Li's Pacific Century Group, it operates Now TV, Viu and HK Television Entertainment
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- Joshua, Fellman "TPG China Media Buys Remaining Fox Stake in Phoenix Satellite TV" Bloomberg L.P. 18 October 2013
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- Frater, Patrick (5 December 2017). "Uday Shankar to Head 21st Century Fox in Asia". Variety. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
- Frater, Patrick; Chow, Vivienne (June 29, 2020). "Redundancies at Disney in Hong Kong as Fox's Asia TV Operations Are Dispersed". Variety. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
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- Cohen, Jeff; Solomon, Norman (14 December 1994). "Announcing The P.U.-litzer Prizes For 1994". FAIR. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
- "China lets in BBC TV". BBC News. 9 January 2001. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
- Fox Networks Group Asia press room
- Former official website of Star at the Wayback Machine (archive index): The startv.com domain is now owned by Star India.
- Fox Networks Group in Taiwan
- Fox Networks Group in Mainland China
- Star TV at the Museum of Broadcast Communications's Encyclopedia of Television