Viacom & TV18 join hands for Viacom 18

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Viacom Inc. and the TV18 Group announced today the creation of a new 50/50 joint venture operation in India, Viacom-18.

The strategic alliance will include television, film and digital media content across numerous brands to build India’s leading multi-platform entertainment company.

The partnership was announced at a press conference in Mumbai, India by Philippe Dauman, President & Chief Executive Officer of Viacom, and Raghav Bahl, Managing Director of the TV18 Group.

As part of the agreement, Viacom-18 will launch a new Hindi-language general entertainment cable and satellite channel in India within the next year. It will include original, locally produced programming and acquisitions.

MTV Networks (MTVN), a unit of Viacom, will contribute its successful local networks, MTV, Vh1 and Nickelodeon India, to the joint venture. Viacom-18 will also launch a further suite of targeted channels in the future from the MTV Networks portfolio, as well as new brands. Digital media content across all of the television brands will be developed and distributed to Indian consumers. The joint venture will also syndicate MTVN programming and newly produced content.

The TV18 Group will contribute its Motion Pictures division operation to the joint venture, which produces, acquires and distributes Hindi-language films.

Additional cooperation in the Indian market beyond this alliance includes joint ownership of the management company for The Indian Film Company, which is in the process of being listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange.

In the coming months, Viacom’s Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks studios will explore additional opportunities for collaboration with Viacom-18.

“India is one of Viacom’s priority markets for expansion internationally,” commented Mr. Dauman.

“This partnership will transform and significantly enlarge our business to offer audiences greater content diversity across platforms, and opportunities for advertisers to reach the full spectrum of demographics. The film operation for Viacom-18 will provide strong synergies with the TV and digital media business, as well as complement our Paramount and DreamWorks studios. We are delighted to enter into this partnership with TV18, the most forward-looking, entrepreneurial media company in India.”

Commenting on the partnership, Raghav Bahl, MD of the TV18 Group, said: “Having established leadership in news broadcasting and consumer Internet business, the TV18 Group was poised to make an ambitious entry into the multi-platform entertainment space. We are delighted to do this in partnership with Viacom, easily among the most successful entertainment companies on our globe. We are confident that Viacom-18 will entertain India’s burgeoning film and television audiences. Viacom-18 will also propel the TV18 Group into the league of a truly diversified and broad-based media conglomerate.”

“MTV Networks is a pioneer in creating locally customized channels around the world, and this alliance continues that tradition and accelerates our long-term growth in India,” said Judy McGrath, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, MTV Networks.

“The partnership reinforces our vision to be the premier provider of diverse, compelling entertainment experiences to audiences globally across every platform.”

“We have a long history of doing business in India, and it has become an integral part of our global network,” commented Bill Roedy, Vice Chairman, MTV Networks. “It has also been a tremendous source of creative and cultural inspiration to our global network for many years. This joint venture recognises our long-term commitment to the Indian market. By combining our successful MTVN India business with assets from the TV18 Group, we will also support the robust film and TV production industry, as well as fuel the explosive growth of digital media. We are excited to partner with TV18, one of the industry’s most dynamic companies, to serve Indian audiences across every screen.”

“The entertainment space offers significant opportunities and this partnership gives us the scale to compete and the edge to achieve leadership position. Viacom-18 will build and nurture communities across platforms much like TV18 has successfully done in the news space. We intend to exploit the compelling demographic synergies between our news channels and Viacom-18’s entertainment offerings,” commented Haresh Chawla, Group CEO, TV18.

The TV18 Group, subject to regulatory approvals, proposes to eventually house its investment in this joint venture through its general broadcast subsidiary ��� GBN.

“To take leadership in the dynamic entertainment industry, a business needs superior capabilities across content creation, brand building and distribution. The Viacom-18 joint venture brings together the unique strengths of two formidable partners, thus forming a multimedia entertainment powerhouse that will have a competitive advantage in serving the needs of both viewers and advertisers,” said Amit Jain, Managing Director, MTV Networks India and Executive Vice President, MTV Networks Asia.

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