Times Group channels hop on to OneAlliance bouquet

MUMBAI: MSM Discovery (MSMD), the distribution joint venture between Sony?s Multi Screen Media (MSM) and Discovery Communications, has entered into a multi-year distribution deal with Times Television Network (TTN) to strengthen its TheOneAlliance bouquet.

The move comes close on the heels of IndiaCast-DisneyUTV JV that further consolidated the Indian television distribution space. The consolidation will help broadcasters to grow their pay-TV business as India moves towards digitisation of cable TV networks.

The news and entertainment channels of TTN ? Times Now, Movies Now, ET Now and zoOm ? will now be exclusively distributed in India for collection of subscription revenue over the cable (analogue and digital), DTH, IPTV and HITS platforms as a part of TheOneAlliance bouquet. The deal between TTN and MSMD comes into effect from 6 February.

The channels were earlier distributed by Prime Connect, the distribution joint venture between Times Group and media entrepreneur Yogesh Radhakrishnan.

In a related development, Radhakrishnan has moved the Delhi High Court. The matter came up for hearing even today and will now resume on Monday.

"The channels have terminated their distribution contract with Prime Connect and moved on to TheOneAlliance bouquet. This has weakened the JV and even made it redundant in that sense as it has no Times Group channels," an industry source said on condition of anonymity.

TTN will, however, undertake the marketing and channel penetration plans independently.

Strengthening the OneAlliance bouquet

The addition of TTN channels will strengthen TheOneAlliance?s English news offering which will include Times Now and TV Today Network?s Headlines Today. The bouquet will also have a business news channel in ET Now.

The English movie channel offering will also get a boost with the addition of Movies Now as the bouquet already has Sony Pix. Further, zoOm will combine well with Hindi movie channel Max.

MSMD President Rajesh Kaul says that the addition TTN channels will take the bouquet strength to 28 from 24 and more importantly will maintain the quality of the bouquet.

?These are top channels in their respective categories and adding them will certainly strengthen the bouquet,? avers Kaul.

Kaul said the immediate priority is to increase the penetration of TTN channels and monetise it in metro markets where these channels are well distributed.

TTN MD and CEO Sunil Lulla said, ?The Times Group and Multi Screen Media share a similar perspective on the broadcast industry and together we are poised to help grow the industry by ushering in transparency, value creation across the chain and by building strong brands."

TTN said its channels reach over 100 million viewers in 30 million urban Indian households.

"As part of TheOneAlliance bouquet our channels will benefit from penetration in more homes and availability on a wider choice of packages. TTN and MSMD will together be able to effect realisation of a fair share of subscription revenue as well as grow ARPUs (Average Revenue per User) of our premium content offerings," added Lulla.

MSM CEO Man Jit Singh said, ?TheOneAlliance is a robust distribution force and offers the best of entertainment to viewers. Addition of the TTN channels will further strengthen the bouquet and together we can ride the digitisation wave to maximize the true potential of the business.?

MSMD already distributes 24 channels across genres including Hindi General Entertainment, Sports, Movies, Factual Entertainment, News, Bollywood, Reality, Action, Animation, Adventure and Lifestyle. Apart from MSM and Discovery channels, TheOneAlliance also distributes TV Today Network and Neo Sports broadcast network channels.

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