Media and entertainment company, Zee News Ltd, has acquired a 26% stake in Sky B (Bangla) Pvt Ltd, a regional media company of West Bengal. Zee News already runs a Bengali news channel, 24 Ghanta, owned by Zee Akaash News Pvt. Ltd. in a 60:40 JV with Sky B. While Akaash Bangla is an infotainment company, 24 Ghanta is a news channel.
The two firms have also forged a strategic partnership agreement wherein Zee News will handle marketing, advertising sales and programming initiatives for Sky B’s Akaash Bangla. Zee news will
provide this service against an agreed fee structure. The agreement provides that only entertainment programming will be covered while news programming shall continue to be produced by Sky B’s current team.
The deal size is not known. Zee News expects to capture 70% viewership share of the market with Akaash Bangla, Zee Bangla and 24 Ghanta.
Zee has been expanding its presence in regional news and entertainment channels like several other national broadcasters in India. A week back, Zee News announced its investment of $5 mn in Zee 24 Ghante to be launched in Uttar Pradesh. It has newly launched Tamil general entertainment channel (GEC), Zee Tamizh.
There has been a rush of national broadcasters regional language channels space. Recently Rupert Murdoch on his visit to India announced a $100 million investment to start six regional television
channels. There are also other like PE-backed INX Group, who is also planning to foray into regional entertainment and news channels. There is Global Broadcast News Ltd (GBN), a majority-owned subsidiary of Network 18, which has a presence in Marathi news.