Sony Entertainment Television (SET) India is negotiating with NDTV for a distribution arrangement of its proposed news channel, even as CNBC has decided to join the Zee-Turner bouquet. SET wants to tie-up with a news channel, as CNBC will move out of their bouquet after the contract expires on March 31, 2003.
Though earlier Sony had decided to wait for the NDTV channel to launch and prove itself before it makes a bet on it. Sony had expressed publicly that it wanted Aaj Tak on the bouquet. Though Sony is still interested in getting Aaj Tak, it feels that it will have to get a news channel in before April 1, 2003.
Sony’s interest in the Hindi mass news channel Aaj Tak continues but is concerned with the delay in arriving at a conclusive agreement. With the ICC World Cup to be telecast on Sony’s Max channel, One Alliance, the brand name of Sony-Discovery joint venture, feels that it is the right time to add more channels in its distribution bouquet.
The combined distribution income of SET India and Discovery Communications was Rs 73 crore last fiscal and SET India made Rs 50 crore. With the World Cup and the formation of the Sony-Discovery joint venture in distribution, the channel is targeting at a subscription income of over Rs 200 crore this year.
Media analysts, however, feel this would be an extremely difficult target to achieve, in the present cable TV environment.