NDTV Imagine is geared up to add more brands to its fold, and its partnership with NBC Universal is playing a key role in achieving this objective. Not only are new channels from NBCU earmarked for launch in India soon, NDTV Imagine is also considering brands from Sparrowhawk and Oxygen Media, which come to NBCU by acquisition, for India.
NBCU has two factors high on its international agenda – building the business of its international channels, and create local content for both film and TV. At least on the television front, the strategic alliance with NDTV Group in India is already seeing significant action. NBCU is clearly excited with the NDTV partnership and states that some of the things that would be seen in the near future are more channels under the NDTV Imagine umbrella.
Pete Smith, President, NBC Universal International, said, “The reason we entered India with a partner was because of the quality of the management team at NDTV. We felt that a business venture with this team would be most likely to succeed because of the high calibre of the management. We hope that this business will transform our India revenues from over $4 million to over $400 million through the JV.”
While the Hindi GEC from NDTV Imagine Ltd – NDTV Imagine – has started off on a good note, two more channels in the English language space – NBCU’s ‘Sci Fi’ and ‘Universal Channel’ – are targeted to be in India in the next six months. NDTV Imagine officials also informed that given NBCU’s access to many other broadcast properties, including the ones from the acquisition of Sparrowhawk and Oxygen Media, NDTV Imagine was looking at more brands from these entities in due course too.
Regarding the target audience of ‘Sci Fi’ and ‘Universal’ channels, Rohatgi said, “These channels would be targeted at upscale digitally-enabled homes.
Each of these channels has a clear and unique positioning, so the target audiences would vary accordingly.”
Giving a broader picture on NDTV Imagine’s expectations from NBCU, Rohatgi said, “We feel that in order to drive digitisation from a content point of view, there is a need for exclusive and premium content. We are hoping to fulfill this need through NBCU and other channels, both local and international.”
As for NBCU’s expectations, Smith said, “The vision we share with NDTV is one of a growing market for over 20 years into the future. Whilst we are not one of the original investors in the market, we believe there are huge opportunities. Through this business, we have entertainment channels, an outsourcing business and a significant emerging convergence business.”
In India, NBCU has TV18 as partners in the news domain. Similarly, for the home entertainment business, NBCU has recently licensed its content to Big Music and Entertainment and Smith. NDTV is the partner in the entertainment business. Smith said that NBCU hoped to bring a “combination of financial muscle, and increased skills to an already hugely talented team”.
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