TV18 - Viacom tie-up
VIACOM AND THE TV18 GROUP ANNOUNCE CREATION OF
NEW JOINT VENTURE IN INDIA: VIACOM-18
Strategic Alliance to Include Launch of New General Entertainment Channel, Film Production and Distribution & Growth of MTV Networks India’s Multi-Platform Services
Partnership to Build India’s Leading Multi-Platform Entertainment Company
Mumbai/New York, 22 May 2007 – Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B) and the TV18 Group announced today the creation of a new 50/50 joint venture operation in India, Viacom-18. The strategic alliance will include television, film and digital media content across numerous brands to build India’s leading multi-platform entertainment company. The partnership was announced today at a press conference in Mumbai, India by Philippe Dauman, President & Chief Executive Officer of Viacom, and Raghav Bahl, Managing Director of the TV18 Group. . This transaction is subject to regulatory approval and other closing conditions.
As part of the agreement, Viacom-18 will launch a new Hindi-language general entertainment cable and satellite channel in India within the next year. It will include original, locally produced programming and acquisitions. MTV Networks (MTVN), a unit of Viacom, will contribute its successful local networks, MTV, Vh1 and Nickelodeon India, to the joint venture. Viacom-18 will also launch a further suite of targeted channels in the future from the MTV Networks portfolio, as well as new brands. Digital media content across all of the television brands will be developed and distributed to Indian consumers. The joint venture will also syndicate MTVN programming and newly produced content.
The TV18 Group will contribute its Motion Pictures division operation to the joint venture, which produces, acquires and distributes Hindi-language films. Additional cooperation in the Indian market beyond this alliance includes joint ownership of the management company for The Indian Film Company, which is in the process of being listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange. In the coming months, Viacom’s Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks studios will explore additional opportunities for collaboration with Viacom-18.
“India is one of Viacom’s priority markets for expansion internationally,” commented Mr. Dauman. “This partnership will transform and significantly enlarge our business to offer audiences greater content diversity across platforms, and opportunities for advertisers to reach the full spectrum of demographics. The film operation for Viacom-18 will provide strong synergies with the TV and digital media business, as well as complement our Paramount and DreamWorks studios. We are delighted to enter into this partnership with TV18, the most forward-looking, entrepreneurial media company in India.”
Commenting on the partnership, Raghav Bahl, MD of the TV18 Group, said: “Having established leadership in news broadcasting and consumer Internet business, the TV18 Group was poised to make an ambitious entry into the multi-platform entertainment space. We are delighted to do this in partnership with Viacom, easily among the most successful entertainment companies on our globe. We are confident that Viacom-18 will entertain India’s burgeoning film and television audiences. Viacom-18 will also propel the TV18 Group into the league of a truly diversified and broad-based media conglomerate.”
“MTV Networks is a pioneer in creating locally customized channels around the world, and this alliance continues that tradition and accelerates our long-term growth in India,” said Judy McGrath, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, MTV Networks. “The partnership reinforces our vision to be the premier provider of diverse, compelling entertainment experiences to audiences globally across every platform.”
“We have a long history of doing business in India, and it has become an integral part of our global network,” commented Bill Roedy, Vice Chairman, MTV Networks. “It has also been a tremendous source of creative and cultural inspiration to our global network for many years. This joint venture recognises our long-term commitment to the Indian market. By combining our successful MTVN India business with assets from the TV18 Group, we will also support the robust film and TV production industry, as well as fuel the explosive growth of digital media. We are excited to partner with TV18, one of the industry’s most dynamic companies, to serve Indian audiences across every screen.”
“The entertainment space offers significant opportunities and this partnership gives us the scale to compete and the edge to achieve leadership position. Viacom-18 will build and nurture communities across platforms much like TV18 has successfully done in the news space. We intend to exploit the compelling demographic synergies between our news channels and Viacom-18’s entertainment offerings,” commented Haresh Chawla, Group CEO, TV18.
The TV18 Group, subject to regulatory approvals, proposes to eventually house its investment in this joint venture through its general broadcast subsidiary – GBN.
“To take leadership in the dynamic entertainment industry, a business needs superior capabilities across content creation, brand building and distribution. The Viacom-18 joint venture brings together the unique strengths of two formidable partners, thus forming a multimedia entertainment powerhouse that will have a competitive advantage in serving the needs of both viewers and advertisers,” said Amit Jain, Managing Director, MTV Networks India and Executive Vice President, MTV Networks Asia.
Further announcements about Viacom-18, including management and content plans, will be made in the coming weeks.
This transaction was supported by Ambit Corporate Finance Pte Ltd and BMR Advisors.
A teleconference will take place to discuss the joint venture on 22nd May at 3:00pm Mumbai time (10:30am London/5:30pm Hong Kong), featuring Viacom’s Philippe Dauman, TV18 Group’s Raghav Bahl and MTV Networks’ Bill Roedy. The call will be replayed throughout the day, and a transcript will be available for media. To dial-in to the teleconference, please follow the below instructions using the password inside or outside India:
Press located in India:
Toll Free Dial-in Number: 0008001006243 (No country code needed)
International Dial-in Number From India: +1 706 902 0754
Password: Viacom Press Conference
Note: The Toll Free Number (0008001006243) may not work on mobile phones in India using the cellular provider Bharti/Airtel. You may contact Bharti/Airtel to ask them to unblock this number or use the international dial-in number.
Press located outside of India:
International Dial-in Number: +1 706 902 0754
Password: Viacom Press Conference
Teleconference Replay Number: +1 706 645 9291
About MTV Networks in India
MTV Networks in India comprises the industry’s most engaging multi-platform entertainment brands, including MTV: Music Television, Vh1 and Nick. Launched in 1996, MTV is India’s leading multimedia youth platform aimed at 15-34 year-olds with a mixture of local music and long-form programming, reaching 29 million cable and satellite households and via www.mtvindia.com and mobile. Vh1 was launched in 2005 and is India’s only international music and lifestyle channel seen in nearly 19 million households. Nick is a Hindi-language network for kids seen in more than 23 million households. Launched in 1999, Nick features local favourites The Munnabhai Show, Perman and Ninja Hattori as well as international hit shows such as Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants and Jimmy Neutron.
About Viacom and MTV Networks
Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B) is a leading global entertainment content company, with prominent and respected brands. Engaging its audiences through television, motion pictures and digital platforms, Viacom seeks to reach its audiences however they consume content. Viacom’s leading brands include the multiplatform properties of MTV Networks, including MTV, VH1, CMT: Country Music Television, Logo, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, COMEDY CENTRAL, Spike TV, TV Land, and more than 130 networks around the world, as well as digital assets such as MTV.com, comedycentral.com, VSPOT, TurboNick, Neopets, Xfire and iFilm; BET Networks; Paramount Pictures; DreamWorks; and Famous Music. More information about Viacom and its businesses is available at www.viacom.com.
About TV18 Group
Television Eighteen Group (TV18) is India's fastest growing media and entertainment company. It is a leader in news broadcasting with team of 3000 people spread across the country in 30 bureau locations (4 of which are overseas). It has established 125,000 sq. ft. of fully integrated broadcast infrastructure, including state-of-the-art hubs in Mumbai and Delhi. TV18 is the only media company in the globe to have partnered with two of the world’s largest media conglomerates. Its leading business news channels, CNBC-TV18 and CNBC Awaaz, are in a partnership with NBC Universal – a USD 13 bn company. Its general news channel, CNN-IBN, is a partnership with Time Warner, the world’s largest media conglomerate. Apart from these three channels, its Network also includes IBN7, a leading Hindi general news channel in partnership with the Jagran Group, owners of India’s largest Hindi language daily.
WEB18, of the TV18 Group, is a leading player in the Internet space in India. It runs moneycontrol.com, which is India’s most influential and widely used financial, business and investor platform with more than 5 million users. Apart from this, WEB18 runs commoditiescontrol.com – India’s leading source for authentic and real-time commodity information, ibnlive.com – India’s leading general news portal, poweryourtrade.com – a paid equity news and information site, easymf.com – a mutual funds advisory & tracking service, indiaearnings.com – India’s most credible and exclusive earnings information destination for companies and institutional investors, tech2.com – a leading personal technology website, cricketnext.com – India’s leading cricket website, compareindia.com – India’s leading online product comparison destination. TV18 Group is also a significant stakeholder in Jobstreet India, an e-recruitment portal, Yatra.in which is a leading provider of online travel services and Big Tree entertainment, an industry leader in movie & entertainment ticketing.
TV18 Group owns the country’s first fully integrated Home Shopping Network (HSN) comprising a home shopping channel and online venture. TV18 Group also owns Newswire 18, India’s first real time news & data platform.
Collectively, the TV18 Group services more than 70 million adults with the ‘power to spend’. For more information, visit http://www.tv18online.com.
Cautionary Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains both historical and forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact are, or may be deemed to be, forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These forward-looking statements are not based on historical facts, but rather reflect Viacom’s current expectations concerning future results and events. Similarly, statements that describe our objectives, plans or goals are or may be forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that are difficult to predict and which may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be different from any future results, performance and achievements expressed or implied by these statements. These risks, uncertainties and other factors include, among others: advertising market conditions in cable programming markets worldwide and, in particular, for advertisements targeting demographics and territories served by the joint venture; risks associated with international operations and, specifically, engaging in operations in India; the potential for changing Indian or international regulatory, tax or currency environment to affect operations or the value of the Company’s interests in the joint venture; risks associated with the startup of a new enterprise with no history of operations; the public acceptance of and ratings for our programs, digital services and other content; competition for advertising dollars; technological developments and their effect in the market and on consumer behavior; the impact of piracy on our programs and content; other domestic and global economic, business, competitive and/or regulatory factors affecting the joint venture generally; and other factors described in Viacom's news releases and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including but not limited to Viacom's 2006 Annual Report on Form 10-K filed on March 1, 2007. The forward-looking statements included in this document are made only as of the date of this document, and, under Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Exchange Act, we do not have any obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.