IndiaCast, a distribution joint venture (JV) between TV18 and Viacom18 Media (an existing equal-equity Indian venture between Viacom Inc. and TV18) has formed a step-down JV with UGBL- a DisneyUTV group company, for the aggregation and wholesale distribution business of TV channels in India.
The new venture is envisaged as a 74:26 JV between IndiaCast and Disney UTV and will become operational post necessary regulatory approvals. TV18 will continue to hold majority economic interest in both IndiaCast and the new step-down JV through a combination of its direct holding through TV18 and the indirect holding through Viacom18 (TV18’s effective economic interest in IndiaCast is 75 per cent and approximately 56 per cent in the new venture). The current IndiaCast management headed by its CEO Anuj Gandhi will manage the JV.
As part of the JV, IndiaCast will move its domestic distribution business into this new venture, while continuing to manage its international distribution operation as well as new media distribution for TV 18, Viacom 18, A+E Networks | TV18 (a joint venture between A+E Networks and TV18 Broadcast) and Eenadu channels. Disney UTV will also move its domestic distribution activities for its entire bouquet of nine channels to the new entity.
The new step down entity will provide 35 channels to cable, direct to home (DTH) and HITS platforms in India. These include channels from TV18 (CNBC-TV18, CNBC Awaaz, CNBC-TV18 Prime HD, CNN-IBN, IBN7 and IBN-Lokmat (a Marathi regional news channel in partnership with the Lokmat group), Viacom18 (Colors, Colors HD, MTV, SONIC, Comedy Central, VH1, Nick., Nick Jr., Nick Teen, and Viacom18 Motion Pictures, the group’s filmed entertainment business), A+E Networks | TV18 (History TV18), Eenadu Group (ETV Bangla, ETV Marathi, ETV Kannada, ETV Gujarati, ETV Oriya, ETV UP, ETV Bihar, ETV Urdu, ETV Rajasthan, ETV MP, ETV and ETV2) and DisneyUTV’s UGBL (Bindass, UTV World Movies, UTV Action Telugu, UTV Stars and UTV Action)
Raghav Bahl, MD, Network18, said, “The Indian television industry in on the throes of a transformation on the back of digitisation. The distribution joint venture of TV18 and Viacom18 with Disney UTV will help in shaping the future course of the domestic distribution landscape.”
TV18 Group and Viacom Inc. had earlier (June 2012) expanded their existing partnership in the Indian media space by forming a new distribution joint venture called IndiaCast, positioned as a multi-platform content asset monetisation entity to drive domestic and international channel distribution, placement services and content syndication for TV18, Viacom18, A+E Networks | TV18 and the Eenadu Group across all platforms.
(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)