Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd (BCCL), India’s largest media conglomerate, On January 28, 2011, announced a joint venture with Yogesh Radhakrishnan, a veteran professional in the Indian cable & satellite industry, to form Media Network & Distribution (India) Ltd (MNDIL). MNDIL will launch ‘Prime Connect’, a brand which will be an independent distribution platform that will organise and distribute channels in India through various platforms – viz. MSOs, DTH, IPTV and all emerging digital platforms across homes and commercial establishments.
Under the agreement, MNDIL will be an exclusive distributor for the Times Group channels – Times Now, ET Now, Movies Now and zoOm. Prime Connect intends to expand its bouquet by including more third party channels for distribution.
Prime Connect will focus on strengthening C&S distribution and placement for independent broadcasters, expanding into new revenue streams in current analog markets and exploring future digital potential of the Indian cable & satellite industry.
Speaking on the launch of the initiative, Vineet Jain, Managing Director, BCCL, said, “India is the fastest growing cable &satellite market, with demonstrable growth potential for the distribution services industry. Distribution has played a significant role in shaping the success of Times Television Network’s four channels and our learnings have contributed to the idea of creating Prime Connect. With this JV, Bennett, Coleman & Co expands its TV foray beyond broadcasting, into distribution services. Prime Connect can now seamlessly enable other TV channels to expand their reach and their revenues, all resulting in an enhanced financial performance.”
Yogesh Radhakrishnan, MD & CEO, MNDIL, added here, “India is a very dynamic, young TV market and already has the third largest number of C&S subscribers in the world. Opportunities for growth are abundant; however, we need to harness our resources to reach our maximum growth potential. One of the biggest problems of the industry is the lack of platforms for independent broadcasters resulting in fewer independent ventures. The carriage market especially is in a chaotic state at the moment and it is causing great impediment for successful launches.”
Radhakrishnan further said, “Prime Connect has successfully distributed the recently launched HD movies channel Movies Now. The industry is plagued with issue of under declaration and Prime Connect aims to increase transparency through strategy and technology. This new digital platform seeks to will not only revolutionise the C&S sector, but also help the Indian public to enjoy uninterrupted and affordable digital options.”
Radhakrishnan was among the first to set up a cable TV head-end in Mumbai almost 25 years ago. He has spear-headed and co-founded launches of large media conglomerates such as Encore Cable Associates, Indusind Media & Communications Ltd, Wincable Data & Communications Ltd, ETC Networks Ltd, which owned ETC Music and ETC Punjabi channels, Real Media FZ LLC, which was a JV with the Zee Group.
He had also revamped Zee Cinema in 2002, galvanised Zee Cine Awards for three years in the international market and launched several channels for Zee in the international markets.