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Viacom18, TV18 Form Distribution Entity IndiaCast

The joint venture will distribute channels from both partners, which include MTV, VH1, Comedy Central and CNN-IBN, among others, across multiple platforms.

NEW DELHI – Viacom18 and leading Indian broadcasting group TV18 announced the launch of joint venture IndiaCast which will distribute channels and content from the two companies in India and abroad.

Established in 2007, Viacom18 is an equal broadcasting joint venture between Viacom Inc and Network18.
While shareholding details for IndiaCast are still to be announced, the venture will be up against two other distribution competitors: MediaPro (a joint venture between News Corp.'s STAR network and leading Indian broadcaster Zee TV) and the Sony-Discovery One Alliance (run by Sony Entertainment Network and Discovery Communications).

Described as a “content asset monetization” entity, IndiaCast will distribute channels such as MTV India, VH1 India, Hindi entertainment outlet Colors, news networks CNBC-TV18 and CNN-IBN and Network18's recently acquired southern regional service Eenadu, among others.

“The Indian distribution market is throwing up ample opportunities and we are uniquely poised to make the most of this proposed alliance in an increasingly digitised environment. Distribution is one of the high-growth areas in this industry and we are excited to have a presence in this part of the business as well,” said Network18 Group CEO Sai Kumar.

“As the Indian market continues to expand and evolve, the move to bring two media houses and the proposed consolidation of Eenadu channels, post acquisition, into one distribution sales house presents an opportunity to accelerate our growth in the region, while increasing efficiencies of operation. We’re excited about the potential of IndiaCast and are looking forward to deepening our partnership with TV18 and Eenadu Group,” added Viacom International Media Networks president and CEO Bob Bakish.

“The company will be the focal point not only for content and media distribution but also to drive the content asset monetisation business of these channels. The growth and way forward for media brands in the journey ahead is through content asset monetisation — taking content across geographies, platforms and mediums,” said IndiaCast group CEO Anuj Gandhi.

The launch of IndiaCast comes six months after leading conglomerate Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), made its first moves into the media and entertainment sector by investing in Network18. RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani – considered India's richest man by Forbes with a net worth of $22.3 billion -- is the elder brother of Anil Ambani who heads his own conglomerate, Reliance ADAG, which is equal partners with DreamWorks.