Star TV has kept to the same roll-out plans for the satellite TV service in the five years since News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch bought a controlling stake in the network for US$525 million, chief executive Gary Davey says. 'We've been accused of changing our strategy, but . . . we have not deviated from our principles at all - decentralise and localise,' he said. When Mr Murdoch purchased 63.3 per cent of Star he obtained a five-channel, free-to-air, analogue-signal service in English and Mandarin. Half a decade on, 103 separate channels in eight languages are uplinked through Star TV's facility in Clearwater Bay. These feeds make up the channel selections for almost fully autonomous operations in India and Taiwan, as well as services tailored for the Middle East, Thailand, Indonesia, China, the Philippines and Malaysia. Mr Davey said the breakdown of Star TV regionally and by language reflected Mr Murdoch's comments in Tokyo last year that although his News Corp group inherited a pan-Asian operation 'we quickly discovered there was no such thing as a pan-Asian market'. Cassindy Chao, executive director for Asia Investment Research with Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong, said News Corp had shown 'great agility and flexibility' in the region. 'There is no tried-and-tested formula for Asian pay TV and Star TV has blazed its own trail. It is fair to say that no one else has succeeded on a pan-regional basis like they have,' she said. Star no longer comments on its multi-million-dollar annual losses. News Corp's annual report says Star is earning more advertising revenue and losses are down. 'We would not be truthful to our shareholders if we simply ran for profit in the short term, because we are looking at a longer-term scale,' Mr Davey said. 'There are some wonderful opportunities - look at Korea. We don't regard what we do as losses; they are investments and we don't underplay the significance of investments.' He said Star's corporate structure dictated against an overall profit, because parts of the operation made money and others did not. 'This is a conglomeration of stand-alone businesses. Each has its own rate of progress,' he said. The shutdown of MGM Gold had not come as a complete surprise to Star, Mr Davey said. 'We felt that 1998 was going to be a sorting-out year and there's going to be inevitable casualties. But we are here for the long term,' he said. Star's 'active core' businesses were in China, India and Taiwan, which had been 'relatively unscathed' by the economic problems afflicting Southeast Asia.