Disney sets up biz news TV in India

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NEW DELHI – Disney and its Indian television partner UTV will launch an English-language business news channel in India in April, the companies announced Wednesday.

The new UTVi will include ABC News programming and services and content produced in India, ABC International Television Asia Pacific and the Mumbai-based broadcasting group UTV said.

"The English business news segment reflects a huge opportunity," Ronnie Screwvala, CEO of UTV Software Communications, said. "With UTV's experience and with one of the best teams assembled, we feel extremely excited to enter this space."

The announcement follows on The Walt Disney Co. increasing its stake in UTV in February to 32.1% and announcing new investments totaling $330 million.

UTVi will compete with established pioneer CNBC-TV18, a joint venture between CNBC and
Mumbai-based Network18 and with NDTV Profit, owned by New Delhi Television and NBC Universal, which bought a 26% stake for $150 million in January.

"This gives us an excellent opportunity to provide our reporting to the people of South Asia, as well as to enhance our coverage of news in the region," said David Westin, ABC News president.

A UTV spokesperson said UTVi will "launch sometime in April."

The new channel will be headed by CEO Arun Anant and editor-in-chief Govindraj Ethiraj.

UTVi will boast sets designed by California-based Broadcast Design International and graphics and a logo created by Toronto-based Renderon Broadcast Design.

UTV's bouquet includes youth channels Bindass, Bindass Movies and World Movies. Disney acquired its kids channel Hungama in 2006 for $30.5 million.
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