CA Media has struck twin deals in the country by picking 49 per cent in content production company Endemol India for an undisclosed amount and co-investing with digital media firm Zodius in Only Much Louder (OML), a live events, music and youth media company.
CA Media is the Asian investment arm of entertainment and digital media company The Chernin Group (TCG). These two investments come close on the heels of TCG recently securing around $200 million in private equity funding from a group of investors led by Providence Equity Partners. Peter Chernin quit News Corp in 2009 after serving 12 years as a close lieutenant of the media giant’s boss Rupert Murdoch, to form his own company.
TCG is a privately held media holding company based in Los Angeles. It has built, managed, operated and invested in businesses in the media, entertainment, and technology sectors around the world since 2010. TCG’s assets include Chernin Entertainment, which produces television programs and feature films; Hong Kong-based CA Media, which builds, manages, and operates media, entertainment, and technology businesses in Asia, particularly India, Indonesia and China besides several strategic investments in technology and media companies in the US including Pandora, Fullscreen, Tumblr and Flipboard.
Endemol India is the six year old local arm of Amsterdam-headquartered Endemol, the world’s largest independent television and digital production company.
Mumbai-based Endemol India is a producer of entertainment television content known for its reality shows such as ‘Bigg Boss’ (India's version of ‘Big Brother’, which has had 5 Seasons to date) and ‘Fear Factor’ (4 Seasons) for Colors among others.
Deepak Dhar (who has been the MD of Endemol India since 2007) will continue to lead the Indian company and now also sports the designation of CEO. Endemol India, which has till now been a television content production company aims to expand to film production, digital content and regional television.
Key strategic priorities for Endemol India include establishing a strong presence in the Indian film sector as well as expansion in scripted and regional television, areas in which Endemol India is already active. At the same time, Endemol India will continue to produce and exploit Endemol’s global portfolio of formats and IP. International distribution of all content developed by the local firm will be handled by the global parent Endemol.
Paul Aiello, CEO of CA Media said, “This is our largest investment in Asia to date and reflects not just our ambitions for this market but also our trust in Endemol India’s capabilities, to jointly build the leading production company in the Indian entertainment space.”
O’Melveny & Myers served as the legal advisor for CA Media on the transaction while Endemol was advised by Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co.
Only Much Louder:
CA Media has also co-invested with one year old Zodius Advisors in Only Much Louder (OML), a music, live events and youth media company in India. Zodius, an investor and operator of digital media, commerce and services companies, was founded by Neeraj Bhargava, co-founder and ex-CEO of NYSE-listed BPO firm WNS.
OML was co-founded by Vijay Nair (CEO) and Girish Talwar in 2002. The company started as an artist management firm (which still remains its core business through its brand The Syndicate) but has expanded its operations to include a large-format music festivals division, a full-fledged production house, a digital wing and an artist management and bookings enterprise.
“OML operates in a category that's nascent right now, but holds immense potential in time to come. With over 65 per cent of Indian population under 35 years of age, we’re extremely bullish about the value that OML can unlock in this segment,” according to CA Media India CEO Rajesh Kamat. Kamat is the former COO of Viacom18 Group who also served as CEO of entertainment channel Colors who previously helped set-up India operations of Endemol as its managing director.
Vijay Nair, co-founder and CEO, OML Entertainment, said, “This investment marks a new phase in the evolution of OML where we will be focussing not only on live on-ground properties, but actively looking at amplifying them through television and digital media.”