Viacom Inc. (Nasdaq: VIAB, VIA), announced that it has acquired a 50% interest in Prism TV Private Limited for 9.4BN rupees (approximately $153M USD). Prism TV owns and operates regional entertainment channels in India, including ETV Marathi, ETV Kannada, ETV Bangla, ETV Oriya and ETV Gujarati, all of which were recently rebranded under the ‘COLORS’ umbrella.
The transaction was completed between Nickelodeon Asia Holdings Pte Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Viacom Inc., and Shinano Retail Private Limited, a company effectively 100% owned by Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited. The parties received clearance from India’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board earlier this month.
With this acquisition, Viacom Inc. will hold 50% of Prism TV and the remaining 50% interest will continue to be owned by the Network18 Group, Viacom’s partner in the Viacom18 joint venture. Viacom18 is the fastest growing entertainment network in India, operating 10 channels including MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and COLORS, a leading Hindi general entertainment brand. The deal gives Viacom a significant presence in the fast growing regional TV sector in India, where almost 60% of the population of more than 1.2 billion people speak regional dialects as their first language. Collectively, regional TV stations account for the second largest share of viewing in the Indian market, behind only Hindi general entertainment channels.
Philippe Dauman, President and CEO of Viacom, said: “We’re thrilled to be broadening our presence in one of the largest and fastest growing TV markets in the world, and deepening our already strong partnership with Network18. This acquisition is an important step in building on our leadership position in India, a key market in Viacom’s international growth strategy.”
A P Parigi, Group CEO Network18, said: “This acquisition by Viacom International Media Networks further strengthens the partnership with Network18 both in terms of depth and breadth. I am confident India will emerge as a global entertainment powerhouse in the year ahead.”
Bob Bakish, President and CEO of Viacom International Media Networks, said: “Regional TV networks – and regional ad markets – are the next wave of growth in India. Having a strong national and broad regional presence gives us a powerful platform to launch additional brands, and introduce successful franchises and formats across India.”
Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO Viacom18, said: “This acquisition is a big milestone for Viacom & Network 18 and it showcases their combined conviction to build a powerful broadcast offering for the Indian market. We are delighted by the transaction and the next growth phase for the companies.”
Viacom is home to premier global media brands that create compelling television programs, motion pictures, short-form video, apps, games, consumer products, social media and other entertainment content for audiences in more than 165 countries and territories. Viacom’s media networks, including Nickelodeon, CMT, Nick Jr., TeenNick, Nicktoons, TV Land, Nick at Nite, MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, SPIKE, Logo, BET, CENTRIC, Channel 5 (UK), Tr3s, Paramount Channel and VIVA, reach a cumulative 3.2 billion television subscribers worldwide. Paramount Pictures is a major global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment. For more information about Viacom and its businesses, visit www.viacom.com. Keep up with Viacom news by following Viacom’s blog at blog.viacom.com and Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/viacom.
TV18 Broadcast Ltd operates news channels – CNBC-TV18, CNBC Awaaz, CNBC-TV18 Prime HD, CNBC Bajar, CNN-IBN, News18 India, IBN7 and IBN-Lokmat (a Marathi regional news channel in partnership with the Lokmat group). TV18 also operates a joint venture with Viacom, called Viacom18, which houses a portfolio of popular entertainment channels – Colors, Colors HD, MTV, SONIC, Comedy Central, VH1, Nick. Nick Jr. and Nick Teen – and Viacom18 Motion Pictures, the group’s filmed entertainment business. TV18 has also forayed into the Indian factual entertainment space through A+E Networks | TV18 (a joint venture between A+E Networks and TV18 Broadcast) and operates HistoryTV18. TV18 and Viacom18 have also formed a strategic joint venture called IndiaCast, a multi-platform ‘content asset monetization’ entity mandated to drive domestic and international channels distribution, placement services and content syndication for the bouquet of channels from TV18, Viacom18 and other broadcasters.
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