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A&E Television Networks, LLC (AETN), a global media content company and Network18 Group have reached an agreement to form a joint venture, AETN-18 India. AETN is a joint venture of Disney-ABC Television Group, Hearst Corporation and NBC Universal.

AETN-18 will launch HISTORY, BIO and other popular AETN channels in the Indian market. In the US, AETN operates two of the top five pay TV networks - HISTORY and A&E, and the number one women’s network, Lifetime. In addition, HISTORY is the number one factual channel in the US since 2009, said a company release.

The joint venture between Network18 Group (51%) and AETN (49%) will be based in Mumbai. This venture will be owned by AETN and ‘New TV18’ eventually (the broadcasting business company post-recently announced restructuring).  Timelines for the launch of various channels will be announced shortly and all new business operations are subject to regulatory approval, added the release.

AETN is comprised of A&E Network, Lifetime, Lifetime Movie Network, History International, Crime & Investigation Network, Military History, Lifetime Real Women, A&E IndieFilms, AETN Digital and AETN Consumer Products.  AETN channels and branded programming reach more than 250 million households in over 150 countries.

Network18 recently forayed into the TV distribution space through a distribution alliance with the Sun Group. The new entity, Sun18, will be a pan-India distribution company.

Abbe Raven, president & CEO, AETN said, “India presents us with strong growth opportunities for AETN’s global portfolio strategy.  We believe that in Network18, we’ve found the best partner for launching AETN’s brands.  We look forward to a long and successful partnership in this important market.”

Raghav Bahl, Founder & Editor, Network18 said “We are excited to partner with AETN, one of the world’s most innovative media organizations. AETN-18 will endeavor to mirror the success that channels like HISTORY have had in the US. I believe the time is right

for India to have a vibrant and dynamic factual entertainment space, led by channels like HISTORY.”

Network18 operates news television channels like CNBC-TV18 and CNBC Awaaz, CNN-IBN, IBN7 and IBN-Lokmat. ibn18 also operates a joint venture with Viacom, called Viacom18 which houses the MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon channels in India - as also Studio18, the Group’s filmed entertainment operation and ‘Colors’, a Hindi general entertainment channel.

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