Viacom to enter Bollywood

Mumbai, March 22 | Updated: Mar 23 2006, 06:10am hrs
Global media giant $9.61 billion Viacom Inc., which beams 120 channels like MTV, Nickelodeon and VH1 into 430 million homes across the world, intends to co-produce Hindi films with Indian producers in the next 12 months.

Another global media giant Sony Pictures is already producing film Savariya with Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

Viacom president and chief executive officer Tom Freston is also looking at additional television and digital programming in the country, though he refused to spell out specific details.

The company may also introduce more channels in India in the future, said Freston. From its global portfolio, only music channels MTV and VH1 and kids channel Nick are available in India right now.

We are at the beginning of our action plan for India. So there is much ground work to do, he said.

Unlike diversified media firms such as News Corp, which have interests in a spectrum of activities including distribution and broadcasting etc, Viacom intends sticking to its core function of beaming/ broadcasting content across TV, film and the web, said Mr Freston.