AS THE dust settles on what media analysts have called the deal of the decade that saw two-thirds of STAR TV being bought by News Corporation, there may be more than one TV viewer wondering: ''What's in it for me?'' The US$525 million (HK$4.07 billion) essentially allows Rupert Murdoch's company to join a pan-Asian satellite TV operation that has gained a high profile since starting operations 30 months ago. Yet since news of the deal was announced, the question no one has addressed is exactly what is going to be the biggest drawcard for regional viewers, including the 1.5 million television-watching households in Hong Kong. STAR TV will soon face a rival in the form of TVB which is part of a loose package of other programmers, including CNN, sports channel ESPN, Australian Television International and film channel HBO. Will the respective outputs consist of a mix of big budget films, live sport and pop videos, either dubbed or in English, like those on offer throughout the rest of the world? Or a carefully-selected mix of films, comedies and variety programmes filmed in the region and featuring Asian stars and Asian languages? STAR TV's five-channel output has become well known since it went on air in the autumn of 1991 - MTV Asia, BBC World Service Television, the Chinese Channel, STAR Plus and Prime Sports. Understandings have also been reached between STAR and a number of Hollywood studios to supply programming for STAR TV's promised pay TV channels, four of which are due to go on air by October. Walt Disney Pictures and Television, MGM International and Columbia Pictures are among those to sign memorandums of understanding with STAR TV - although the link with News Corporation could throw these understandings into doubt. Mr Murdoch can bring an impressive list of potential programme suppliers to union through News Corporation's ownership of the six BSkyB channels being beamed into the UK; Fox Broadcasting' eight television channels and the 20th Century Fox library with 2,000 films ranging from The Sound of Music, Home Alone 2, The Last of the Mohicans, and television programmes like L.A. Law and The Simpsons. STAR TV's sister company, Media Assets, has also agreed to finance 25 films, although they will be fairly small budget affairs. For its part, TVB has 100,000-hours worth of programming in its library of the type of fare Jade viewers have been watching nightly for years, with 5,000 hours added to that a year. At the same time it has a ready-made video sales system on the ground in most Asian countries - a source of revenue worth several hundred million dollars to the station annually. TVB International general manager S. K. Fung has long insisted Asian viewers want Asian faces, and that the top-rated programmes are those featuring regional performers and not those brought in from the US or Europe. Despite the impressiveness of the suppliers' names in Western eyes, the STAR TV package was of questionable value unless it had custom-made programmes for Asia, he said. Nonsense, retorted Seamus O'Brien, managing director of CSI Asia, the sports event suppliers. ''TVB may be enough for one market, but the things that drive the market are movies and sport, and I see no reason why Asia should be different,'' he said. ''Murdoch is the number one at programming satellite services and he will know what needs to go on STAR TV to get subscribers.'' Mr O'Brien conceded Mr Murdoch would do well to buy Chinese-language films. One possibility is Golden Harvest's library of about 330 films, made in Cantonese, with most dubbed into Mandarin and English. Studio spokesman Russell Cawthorne denied a deal had been struck with STAR TV or News Corporation. ''Golden Harvest is, in the regular course of business, in discussion on a variety of opportunities with a number of organisations. We are continuing discussions but nothing has been signed,'' he said. But the jolt delivered to satellite TV in Asia means nothing can be taken for granted any more. As Mr Cawthorne said when asked if Golden Harvest would sell its stock: ''We are not ruling anything out.''