Mumbai : Viacom has acquired a 50% interest in Prism TV, which owns a number of regional entertainment channels in India, for 9.4 billion rupees ($153 million).
The remaining 50% interest in Prism TV will continue to be owned by the Network18 Group, Viacom’s partner in the Viacom18 joint venture, which operates 10 channels including MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and COLORS, a leading Hindi general entertainment brand. The networks encompassed in the Prism TV group include ETV Marathi, ETV Kannada, ETV Bangla, ETV Oriya and ETV Gujarati, all of which were recently rebranded under the COLORS umbrella.
The deal gives Viacom a significant presence in the fast growing regional TV sector in India, where almost 60% of the population of more than 1.2 billion people speak regional dialects as their first language.
Philippe Dauman, the president and CEO of Viacom, said: “We’re thrilled to be broadening our presence in one of the largest and fastest growing TV markets in the world, and deepening our already strong partnership with Network18. This acquisition is an important step in building on our leadership position in India, a key market in Viacom’s international growth strategy.”
A P Parigi, group CEO of Network18, added: “This acquisition by Viacom International Media Networks further strengthens the partnership with Network18 both in terms of depth and breadth. I am confident India will emerge as a global entertainment powerhouse in the year ahead.”
Bob Bakish, the president and CEO of Viacom International Media Networks, commented: “Regional TV networks, and regional ad markets, are the next wave of growth in India. Having a strong national and broad regional presence gives us a powerful platform to launch additional brands, and introduce successful franchises and formats across India.”
Sudhanshu Vats, group CEO of Viacom18, added: “This acquisition is a big milestone for Viacom and Network 18 and it showcases their combined conviction to build a powerful broadcast offering for the Indian market. We are delighted by the transaction and the next growth phase for the companies.”