Viacom International Media Networks has agreed to buy a half stake in Indian regional broadcast group Prism TV.
The company 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 deal was struck between Nickelodeon Asia Holdings, and Shinano Retail, a company effectively 100% owned by Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Limited.
The remaining 50% interest will continue to be owned by the Network18 Group, Viacom’s partner in the Viacom18 joint venture in India. Viacom18 operates 10 channels including MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and Colors.
The deal, which already received clearance from India’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board earlier this month, gives Viacom a greater presence in the fast-growing regional TV sector in India. This is the second largest broadcast segment in the country behind Hindi-language general entertainment channels, such as Colors.
“This acquisition is an important step in building on our leadership position in India, a key market in Viacom’s international growth strategy,” said Philippe Dauman, president and CEO of Viacom.
“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,” said A P Parigi, Group CEO Network18.
“This acquisition is a big milestone for Viacom and Network 18 and it showcases their combined conviction to build a powerful broadcast offering for the Indian market,” said Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO Viacom18.