NBC Universal and NDTV today signed an agreement under which the US-based broadcaster will acquire a 26-per cent stake in NDTV Networks, the holding company for NDTV Ltd's entertainment and lifestyle channels, digital media and other interests, including media products and services.
The agreement also includes an option for NBC Universal to increase its stake to 50 per cent in the JV company through which NBC Universal plans making the investment, at a fair market value in the next two years.
In April 2007 Jeff Zucker, president and CEO, NBC Universal, had announced the broadcaster's decision to more than double the size of its international operations in the next three years.
"This will be a significant investment for NBC Universal in an important emerging market and further illustrates our commitment to expand our company internationally, particularly in high-growth areas." said Zucker about the proposed alliance with NDTV, promoted by its chairman, Dr Prannoy Roy, well-known psephologist. "The Indian TV market is growing at 16 per cent annually, which provides huge opportunities now and into the future".
Roy, who is the chairman, and majority shareholder of NDTV, said, "Today, two pioneers in the television history of the world's two largest democracies have come together to cater to a dynamic and demanding set of viewers."
The channels operated by NDTV Networks include NDTV Imagine, a Hindi general entertainment channel, which it launched yesterday, and lifestyle channel NDTV Good Times.
NDTV Emerging Markets is a consulting business that establishes news channels in countries outside India. This division, owned jointly by NDTV Ltd and NDTV Networks, has so far launched channels in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Middle East.
Amongst the other businesses under the NDTV umbrella are NDTV Convergence , a digital media business that controls all NDTV websites, including NDTV.com; NDTV Active, a full service, user aware mobile channel and media process outsourcing business; NGEN, NDTV's joint venture with Genpact that provides outsourcing of media services such as logging, editing and graphics, and media technology licensor, NDTV Labs.
"This investment will represent a further major step in our international expansion strategy," said Peter Smith, president NBC Universal International.
According to Vikram Chandra, chief executive officer, NDTV Networks, over the past six months the networks. Had launched four channels and made significant progress in new generation internet and mobile phone offerings. "This partnership with one of the world's most respected media companies will strengthen our position as a dominant force in Indian media and entertainment," Chandra said.
NDTV and NBC will align their multiple businesses, that the two partners describe as highly complementary.
Formed in May 2004 through the merger of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal is 80 per cent owned by GE, with Vivendi holding the remaining minority stake.
NBC Universal is a leading media and entertainment company engaged in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. IT owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks.