ZEE to buy 60% stake in Venus Films & Records

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In what has been quite an eventful week with management restructuring, ZEE network has now gone and announced a 60% acquisition in Venus Films and Records & Tapes Pvt. Ltd.

This acquisition is subject to due diligence and final approval from Board of Directors of ZEE Telefilms Limited. Producers, Ganesh Jain and Ratan Jain of Venus Films have produced several successful Hindi films, some of which are Josh, Mela, Baadshah, Garam Masala, Kyunki and Hulchul. Venus Records & Tapes has a repertoire 2500 titles. Venus Films has negative rights of 30 blockbuster films like Baazigar, Yes Boss and Akele Hum Akele Tum among others.

Commenting on the development, Mr. Ashish Kaul, Senior Vice President, Essel Group said, ���We look at this acquisition as an extension of our existing business, as we are a major consumer of film & music products. This will be in synergy with business of ZEE Cinema & ZEE Muzic. The audio & film rights will strengthen the programming of these channels.�۝

Mr. Ganesh Jain of Venus said, ���This association of Venus, one of the largest & most successful production houses with ZEE Network, will be mutually beneficial, as ZEE will have access to all films of Venus and Venus will have the support of India�۪s largest television network. Being one of the leading music companies, we will be able to provide a strong support for ZEE Cine Awards overseas and to the programming content of ZEE Muzic.�۝

Elaborating further, he added, ���This acquisition is also being done in line with our plans to aggregate and digitalize content for digital platforms, starting with the content of ZEE Network. This acquisition will help us be at the forefront of providing both new and existing content across various consumer gadgets.�۝

This acquisition will add to ZEE�۪s existing library of films. Apart from audio and film rights, Venus has state of the art post-production facilities, which will help in enhancing the content value of ZEE Network.

Venus will continue to be handled by existing management with input from ZEE Network. This latest move will no doubt further enhance ZEE’s opportunities into the Indian film foray. But what does remain to be seen is how this tie-up between ZEE and Venus will affect other TV channels such as STAR and Sony Entertainment Television Asia. Will they also be following suit by acquiring such stakes in production houses? To some extent this has already been witnessed with STAR TV’s close relationship with UTV. It has already bought rights of UTV films like Bluffmaster, Taxi No.9211 and is looking like a hot favourite to scoop the television rights of UTV’s big summer release Chup Chup Ke.

Furthermore, it is worth mentioning ZEE’s previous alliance with production major Rajshri fizzled out months after huge fanfare. ZEE has made no qualms about moving into the film sector after all it succesfully distributed movies like Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Sathion and Mujhse Shaadi Karogi internationally. Its ZEE Cinema is the most watched film channel in India and the broadcaster’s annual ZEE Cine Awards have fast become India’s most respected film ceremony.

Keep it with Biz Asia as developments like this continue to change the face of Indian TV and its bond with the Indian film industry, that is Bollywood.

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