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Turner sells stake in Hindi channel

Real to relaunch as English-language web

Time Warner’s Turner Asia Pacific Ventures has sold its stake in Hindi-language entertainment channel Real and television production house Miditech back to its partners, Alva Bros. Entertainment.

Turner acquired a 29% stake for $20 million in Miditech in 2007 and launched a 50:50 joint venture with Alva called Real Global Broadcasting in 2009, as part of its plans to enter the Hindi-language general entertainment market.

Steve Marcopoto, Turner Broadcasting System, Asia Pacific, prexy said at the time, “Given the market’s strong growth, extremely young population, penchant for media consumption and improving distribution delivery systems, India is one of our biggest growth opportunities.”

The Real channel launched in March 2009 but struggled to make any headway in a crowded market and only managed a 1% market share. The channel soon downsized and CEO Sunil Lulla quit in December to join Times Global Broadcasting.

In the meantime, Turner trained its sights elsewhere and this February it acquired a 92% stake in NDTV Imagine, which has a general entertainment channel, a Bollywood channel and a world cinema channel.

The Alvas now plan to relaunch Real as an English-language web.

General entertainment channels make up 35% of India’s $5.7 billion TV market.

Time Warner operates kids’ offerings Cartoon Network and Pogo in India. The company also holds a 26% stake in broadcaster Zee Entertainment.

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