New York/Mumbai: AETN and Network18 have reached an agreement to form a joint venture, AETN-18 India on Wednesday which will now launch History, BIO and other popular AETN channels in the Indian market.
AETN is the fastest growing pay television company in the United States operating two of the top five Pay TV networks - History and A&E, and the number one women's network Lifetime. In addition, History is the number one factual channel in the US since 2009.
The joint venture between Network18 Group with a share of 51 per cent and AETN holding 49 per cent will be based in Mumbai. This venture will be owned by AETN and 'New TV18' eventually. Timelines for the launch of various channels will be announced shortly and all new business operations are subject to regulatory approval. BMR Advisers acted as transaction advisers to Network18 Group.
Headquartered in New York, AETN is a global media company whose brand portfolio includes A&E Network, History, Lifetime, BIO, Crime & Investigation Network, Military History, Lifetime Movie Network, History International, History en espanol and Lifetime Real Women. Outside the US, AETN's 44 channels and blocks reach over 250 million TV households in more than 150 countries. Internationally, AETN deploys its brands and content via channels, content sales, digital media distribution and home entertainment/electronic sell through.
Reaching over 250 million Indians cumulatively every month, Network18 group owns and operates India's premier bouquet of TV channels through the country's largest news network and the fastest growing entertainment network housing CNBC-TV18, CNBC AWAAZ, CNN-IBN, IBN 7, IBN-Lokmat, Colors, MTV, VH1, Nick, HomeShop18. Apart from this, the group has a market leading presence in web and mobile, special interest publishing and retail space and operates a suite of specialised service businesses in sports, events, data services and investments. Network18 recently forayed into the TV distribution space through a pioneering distribution alliance with the Sun Group. The new entity, Sun18, will be the first truly pan-India distribution company and is slated to emerge as one of the country's largest distribution entities.
"I am delighted about the launch of our new joint venture with Network18 in India," said Abbe Raven, President & CEO, AETN. "India presents us with strong growth opportunities for AETN's global portfolio strategy. We believe that in Network18, we've found the best partner for launching AETN's brands. We look forward to a long and successful partnership in this important market."
Raghav Bahl, Founder & Editor, Network18 said, "We are excited to partner with AETN, one of the world's most innovative media organisations. AETN-18 will endeavour to mirror the success that channels like History have had in the US. I believe the time is right for India to have a vibrant and dynamic factual entertainment space, led by channels like History."
"We believe that industry leader Network18's extensive infrastructure and local market expertise matched with AETN's acclaimed brands and content will create a formidable media presence in India," said Steve Ronson, Executive Vice-President, Enterprises AETN.
Haresh Chawla, Group CEO Network18 added, "We hope to be able to create a unique position in the Indian market and become the number one player in the factual entertainment space. I am confident that AETN's programming prowess will be matched with Network18's skill sets in brand building, distribution and monetisation. Greater addressability and growth in the pay TV market will help us capitalise on this significant, but relatively 'under-serviced' space. AETN-18 will endeavour to redefine the factual entertainment genre in India."