Peter Chernin's CA Media Acquires Stake in Endemol India

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HIGHLIGHT: NBC's Untitled Gene Hong, an ensemble comedy set in a karaoke bar with "The Voice" coach Adam Levine attached as an EP. The network has given a script commitment with penalty.

The Chernin Group's Asian arm also announced an investment in Indian youth media and music events promoter Only Much Louder.

MUMBAI - CA Media, the Asian investment arm of The Chernin Group (TCG), and Endemol, the world’s largest independent television producer, announced Thursday the formation of a strategic alliance in which CA Media has acquired a 49 percent stake in Endemol India.

Founded by former News Corp President and COO and Fox Entertainment topper Peter Chernin, The Chernin Group's Hong Kong-based CA Media focuses on media, entertainment and technology businesses across Asia with a specific initial focus on India, China and Indonesia.

Last year, CA Media appointed former Viacom18 Group COO Rajesh Kamat as its India CEO.

While financial figures were not given – though CA Media CEO Paul Aiello says “this is our largest investment in Asia” - the companies said the “strategy is to build Endemol India into the leading and most valuable content production company in India across television, film and digital content.”

Endemol India MD Deepak Dhar, who has been with the company since 2007, has been promoted to CEO.

Founded in 2006, Mumbai-based Endemol India has produced successful local versions of formats such as Big Brother, Fear Factor and Deal or No Deal, among others.

Backed by CA Media, Endemol India's expansion plans now include establishing a strong presence in the Indian film sector in addition to enhancing its television projects.

“India is a critical investment market for CA Media and we’re pleased to partner with Endemol to work together to further leverage the growth in the Indian media and entertainment space. We believe that Endemol India is poised to capitalize on the expected explosive growth across all platforms in this industry,” said The Chernin Group Chairman and CEO Peter Chernin. 

“India represents a significant opportunity for Endemol and our collaboration with CA Media strongly positions us to become the region’s largest content producer,” added Endemol Group CEO Just Spee.

“Our new partnership with Endemol fits in well with our plans of creating a diversified portfolio of assets in the media and entertainment space, with Endemol India being at the epicentre,” said CA Media India CEO Rajesh Kamat.

Meanwhile, CA Media also announced an undisclosed investment in Mumbai-based Only Much Louder (OML), a music, live events and youth media company.

OML has promoted concerts by international talent in India including Lady Gaga, David Guetta, Imogen Heap, Mumford & Sons, Jay Sean, Basement Jaxx and The Prodigy.

CA Media has made the investment in OML alongside Zodius, an investor and operator of digital media, commerce and services companies that develops ventures in the “new” digital India.

Launched as an artist management firm in 2002, Only Much Louder operates at the intersection of three key elements - alternative culture, youth and brands. It focuses on reaching the youth market in India through music festivals, television and web-based content.

OML operations now include a large-format music festivals division, a fully-fledged production house, a digital wing and an expansive artist management and bookings enterprise. “OML operates in a category that's nascent right now, but holds immense potential in time to come. With over 65 percent of India's population under 35 years of age, we’re extremely bullish about the value that OML can unlock in this segment,” said Kamat.

“This investment marks a new phase in the evolution of OML where we will be focussing not only on live on-ground properties, but actively looking at amplifying them through television and digital media,” added OML Entertainment founder and CEO Vijay Nair.