Network18, Sun form distribution JV

MUMBAI: In a significant development that is set to deeply impact the industry, Network18 Group and Sun Network have formed a distribution joint venture company.

The  new entity, to be called Sun18, will start with the distribution of 33 channels across all platforms including cable, DTH, IPTV, HITS and MMDS.

The alliance marks the entry of Network18 Group into the Indian television distribution space. It also ends Viacom18‘s deal with TheOneAlliance, the Sony-Discovery joint venture which distributes channels.

Interestingly, the Network18 group channels (CNN-IBN, CNBC-TV18, CNBC-Awaaz, IBN-7 and IBN-Lokmat) will move from the Star Den JV to Sun18. Only the Star channels, Times Now and Zoom will remain with Star Den.

Sun18 also gets to distribute the Viacom18 channels - Colors, MTV, Nick and Vh1. The new JV will also handle the Disney channels - The Disney Channel, Disney XD and Hungama TV.

Sun18 will have India‘s largest multilingual network comprising Sun TV, KTV, Sun News, Sun Music, Chutti TV, Adithya, Gemini TV, Teja TV, Gemini News, Gemini Music, Navvulu TV, Kushi TV, Surya TV, Kiran TV, Udaya TV, Udaya Movies, U2, Udaya Varthegalu, Ushe TV and Chintu TV. 

"With these 33 channels, the Sun18 bouquet is already the highest GRP delivering bouquet in the Indian television space. The option to aggregate third party channels is also one of the opportunities this venture will seek to explore," an official statement said.

As part of the strategic alliance, two new companies are being formed - Sun18 Media Services North Co. and Sun18 Media Services South Co.


Left to Right- Tony D’ Silva, Ajay Vidyasagar, Kalanithi Maran, Raghav Bahl, Haresh Chawla, Rajesh Kamat

While Sun18 South will manage the South India market (non Hindi-speaking-markets) and will be operated by the Sun Network, Sun18 North will manage the rest of India markets and will be operated by the Network18 Group.

Sun18 North will be headed by Haresh Chawla (Group CEO - Network18 and Viacom18) as its CEO & director. Rajesh Kamat (Viacom18 Group COO & CEO Colors), will be the COO of Sun18 North. Sun18 South will be headed by Tony D‘Silva as its CEO.
Said Network18 Group founder Raghav Bahl, "This partnership extends Network18‘s presence into yet another critical component of the Indian television & entertainment space. In Sun Group, we‘ve found a partner that not only complements our own strengths, but is also as ambitious to change the landscape of the Indian broadcasting industry."

He further added, "Distribution is one of the high-growth areas in this industry and we‘re excited to now have a presence in this part of the business as well."

Sun Network CMD Kalanithi Maran said, "Sun18 is a very important initiative for us in the distribution platform business and is being created with the vision of better leveraging our very successful television brands across the country. The content assets and resources of Sun TV Network and Network 18, will enable us to continue to thrive in an ever-changing media landscape. Consumers of all of our products - on screens large and small - will have the benefit of enhanced content and experiences, delivered to them in new and better ways as a result of this initiative. It also signals our deep commitment to drive greater growth from subscription revenues."

Commenting on Sun18, Chawla said, "This unique alliance will bridge one of the widest gaps that has existed in the Indian television space for long - the gap between the South and the rest-of-India markets."

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