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India’s Colors Launches English Channels as CNN Splits With TV18

India’s Viacom 18 is to launch two new English general entertainment channels, Colors Infinity and Colors Infinity HD. The network has signed multiyear deals with Warner Bros. International Television Distribution, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures Television, Twentieth Century Fox, Lionsgate, MGM, BBC and Endemol Shine to secure content.

No shows have been announced yet, but the network says there will be a gamut of genres including reality, drama, superheroes, comedy, fantasy, crime, and thrillers. The channels will be co-curated by actor, producer, writer, director and talk show host Karan Johar and actress Alia Bhatt. The channels will be available on DTH and cable platforms.

“The [English-language] market is widening its appeal across viewers who think and speak in English, but haven’t been invited to consume international entertainment yet. Colors Infinity aims to speak to this larger audience, which goes beyond the metros,” said Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO, Viacom18.

Viacom 18, a joint venture between U.S. media conglomerate Viacom and India’s Network 18 Group, operates several channels in India including Colors in various Indian languages, Rishtey, Nickelodeon, Sonic, MTV, MTV Indies, Nick jr, VH1, and Comedy Central.

  • Meanwhile, CNN and TV 18, part of the Network 18 group, will end their 10-year content and branding relationship in January 2016. The two entities operate the CNN-IBN news channel. CNN will remain in India and is in talks with other players including the Zee Media conglomerate to form a new partnership.
  • In a separate move, Times Network is to launch MN+, an HD-only English-language movie channel. It replaces simulcast service Movies Now Plus and means that Times Network is now operating two movie channels. It has signed movies including “Argo,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” “The Hurt Locker,” “Sherlock Holmes” and “The Bourne Supremacy.”

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