The board of directors of Zee Telefilms yesterday approved the formation of a joint venture with Turner International (India) Private Ltd. Zee will hold 74 per cent stake in the new entity—Zee Turner Private Ltd.—while Turner would hold the balance 26 per cent.
According to industry sources, the new company will distribute a joint bouquet of 17 channels—14 from the Zee stable and 3 from the Turner stable. Zee’s director and group head-access business, DP Naganand, will be chairman of the new company.
According to company sources, advertising revenue would continue to be independently collected by the two partners. Both partners expect the joint venture to yield a “healthy upside in revenue,” though they were unwilling to share specific numbers.
There was however no clarity on whether the subscription rates will go up, down or remain the same. The subscription rate for Zee’s bouquet is currently Rs 30 per subscriber per month while it is Rs 12.50 for Turner’s channels.
At the moment, the subscription channel market is estimated to be worth about Rs. 5,000 crore and Zee expects over the next four to five years it would grow to be about Rs. 10,000 crore.
According to cable TV industry sources, Sony Entertainment TV India, having Sony, AXN, SET Max and CNBC India in its fold, may weigh the option of joining the new venture as also those media companies which have one or two channels (like MTV, Aaj Tak, Discovery, etc.) in their stables and are not willing to hop on to the Star platform.
Zee Turner Limited is likely to be incorporated in the next few weeks, after the regulatory approvals are in place. The company’s board will comprise three directors nominated by Zee and one by Turner International. Anshuman Misra, the managing director-south Asia for Turner International, will also hold the position of managing director in Zee Turner Limited.