Asianet Middle East is an Indian general entertainment channel broadcasting in the south Indian language of Malayalam which is the official language of the Indian state of Kerala, and is also spoken in some regions of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and among Malayalee expatriates in the Middle East region. In terms of viewership, Asianet is often regarded as the most popular Malayalam-language television channel. Based in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, the channel is part of Asianet Communications Limited (ACL), a joint venture between the News Corporation-owned STAR TV/Fox International Channels and Jupiter Entertainment Ventures,an Indian company led by Rajeev Chandrasekhar. Asianet has atmost 50 programmes per day. Asianet was the first privately owned television channel in Malayalam and the second to broadcast in the language.Asianet commenced operations by the end of 1992 and started transmission by August 1993, at a time when the only Malayalam-language television channel available was the government-owned Doordarshan. The channel had hired a transponder on the Russian Ekran satellite, with an uplink from the USSR. Later, the company hired a transponder on the Rimsat satellite, and shifted the uplink to Subic Bay in the Philippines and then to Manila. Initially, the transmission time was only three hours per day which was gradually increased to 12 hours per day by the end of 1994 and later to round the clock broadcasting. In early 1995, the uplink was shifted to Singapore where it attained full operational status. With a change in the broadcasting policies of the Government of India, Asianet started an uplink from Chennai through VSNL. From July 15, 2002, Asianet had its own earth station at the Asianet Studio Complex in Puliyarakonam, Thiruvananthapuram. Over the course of more than two decades of operations, Asianet has developed its own in-house production facilities and now has full-fledged production studio in Thiruvananthapuram.
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