The Disney-UTV group, UGBL has struck a deal with TV18-Viacom18 to distribute its channels in India on its IndiaCast platform.
IndiaCast, which was set up last year is a joint venture between TV18 and Viacom18. The aforementioned new distribution venture is a step-down joint venture and is envisaged as a 74:26 JV between IndiaCast and Disney UTV. It will become operational post necessary regulatory approvals. 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 TV18, Viacom18, A+E Networks | TV18 and Eenadu channels.
DisneyUTV will also move its domestic distribution activities for its entire bouquet of nine channels to the new entity. The new step-down entity will hence provide 35 channels from the TV18, Viacom18, DisneyUTV, Eenadu Group and A+E Networks | TV18 to Cable, DTH and HITS platforms inIndia. The current IndiaCast management headed by Anuj Gandhi, CEO, will manage the joint venture.
TV18 will continue to hold majority economic interest in both IndiaCast and the new
step-down joint venture through a combination of its direct holding through TV18 and the indirect holding through Viacom18. TV18۪s effective economic interest in IndiaCast is 75% and 56% in the new venture.
Announcing the transaction, Raghav Bahl, Managing Director, 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 DisneyUTV, announced today, is a landmark deal and will help in shaping the future course of the domestic distribution landscape. At TV18, we have always believed that as industry leaders we should not only forge and nurture successful partnerships but also spearhead initiatives that accrue benefits to all stakeholders.
Commenting on the deal, Sai Kumar, Group CEO, said, We take great pride and pleasure in being a part of this strategic partnership announced today and are very excited by the opportunity that the impending digitisation of Indian television presents to us. We are confident that the coming together of some of the largest and most premier broadcasting properties in the country will significantly add to IndiaCast۪s bargaining power and its strength as one ofIndia۪s foremost television distribution ventures.
Anuj Gandhi said, This partnership will build a strong distribution company that will offer a broader and more diversified range to platforms giving us a foothold across genres including in general entertainment, general and business news, movies, youth and kids genres. We have had a great first year for IndiaCast and this JV will give our domestic distribution business scale and wider reach.
There are some clear and unique synergies in this partnership. The new bouquet is a more comprehensive offering from the viewer۪s perspective that gives the combined entity an edge in the marketplace, said MK Anand, Managing Director Media Networks, Disney UTV.