CA Media, the Asian investment arm of The Chernin Group, has finally unfolded its India strategy, which is based on two key pillars. The first pillar is ‘acquire’, wherein the group will invest into a company to take a stake. The second pillar is ‘invest to create’, which would imply the group investing in ideas to build businesses with their in house team. CA Media will choose the domains it will invest into on the basis of current returns and future growth viewpoints.
The company’s first two India announcements have come on the back of its first pillar. The company has taken a 49 per cent stake in content production house Endemol India. The objective is to make Endemol the biggest content production house in India. Deepak Dhar will continue to lead Endemol India and has been appointed CEO of the company.
CA Media has also made an investment alongside Zodius, an investor and operator of digital media, commerce and services companies, in Only Much Louder (OML). OML operates at the intersection of three elements - alternative culture, youth and brands. It focuses on reaching the youth market in India through high quality entertainment properties including music festivals, television and web-based content.
Betting on the old and strong...
CA Media’s faith in content is asserted by its decision to invest into Endemol India. Reiterating this, Kamat said, “Content is core to the entertainment business and if we have to get into that business, it would be with a company that has the flexibility to go across screens. Endemol is the largest production house with quite a few non- fiction and fiction shows in its overall mix. They have done a lot on TV and the plan is to also get into films.”
Deepak Dhar, CEO, Endemol India, stated, “We were very clear we wanted strategic investment and not financial investment and that is what CA brings to the table. We have grown organically over the years, on the strength of ideas. Now, the ambition is to break from the clutter of being television content producers to being content producers, who work across screens. We want to grow out of the Hindi speaking markets and go pan India. Going forward, you will see us focus on regional, digital and movie production.”
..And on the young and vibrant
On the one hand, investing in Endemol was betting on a mature yet growing business, but the second investment, OML, was banking into a yet nascent industry, which is on the verge of growth given the youth market in India. Kamat explained, “We are investing in youth power. OML has done some excellent work involving youth and music. This is a fairly nascent pocket but it makes far more sense for us to invest into this as this stage.”
Vijay Nair, Founder and CEO, OML Entertainment said, “We are looking at expanding into domestic and international and CA will bring immense expertise and support in achieving this. We needed someone who would also work with us on non Live music, as so far we have been focussed on Live music driven events. We needed people from a diverse background and not more of the same.”
CA Media’s second pillar would be a fully owned subsidiary, which would focus on building businesses out of ideas with an in house team. Kamat explained, “We are working on quite a few ideas that we believe we will invest in and would be successful business. There is still time though before we make some announcements on that front.”
The end objective for CA Media is to create a diversified portfolio of assets, which when seen in its combined might will create a multiplier effect for the company in its India operations.