Turner Int'l in joint venture for Hindi channel

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NEW DELHI -- Turner International announced Thursday a joint venture with New Delhi-based programming house Miditech and its holding company Alva Brothers that plans to launch a Hindi general entertainment channel.

Plans also include channels in other languages. Financial terms and a time frame were not given.

This is Turner's second joint venture in India. Its first -- Zee-Turner, with Indian broadcasting group Zee Telefilms -- is in cable distribution. Zee-Turner distributes channels from both partners, including Hindi channel Zee TV and Cartoon Network, and third-party channels such as CNBC and Reality TV. Zee holds 74% equity in the venture, with the balance held by Turner.

"Turner has always acknowledged the potential that India holds. ... Investing in this well-established content company and launching yet another channel underscore Turner's commitment to further grow its business," Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific president Steve Marcopoto said.

Founded by Nikhil and Niret Alva more than a decade ago, Miditech will now see Turner acquiring an unspecified minority stake with the balance held by the brothers' company. The forthcoming broadcast venture will have Turner and Miditech holding company Alva Brothers as equal partners.

Miditech, whose recent credits include the Hindi version of "Sesame Street" for Cartoon Network, will continue to create content for other broadcasters and clients.

Alva Brothers co-promoter Niret Alva said, "The relationship with Turner reaffirms the confidence Miditech enjoys in the marketplace. ... It is the beginning of a new journey of leadership for quality and imaginative content."
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