Sahara fuses entertainment, media under SaharaOne brand

MUMBAI: If it ain't working right, then try and fix it. That's the motto of many a technician. And that's the buzzword at the Subrata Roy promoted Sahara India Pariwar. Its television channel business has been putting up a middling performance, and that's reason enough to go in for a major rehaul like it has. Its media and entertainment businesses (motion pictures, radio, television and Special Identity) have been brought under a single entity called SaharaOne.


This follows the earlier corporate restructuring, as part of which the Sahara India Pariwar had formed a 50:50 management joint venture called Sahara India Media Entertainment Management with Percept, a leading marketing communications group. And it is this JV which will act as the management company for all initiatives under SaharaOne with Percept IMC joint managing director Shailendra Singh at its helm.


The group is planning to back up the makeover with a massive cash infusion of Rs 15 billion, which is to be invested in SaharaOne over the next three years. And it's taking the aid of management firms -KPMG and E&Y - to help develop synergies in the four major businesses and adopt best practices in the global entertainment industry.

Says SaharaOne COO Peter Isaac, "SaharaOne epitomises the two values that will drive the plans of Sahara India Pariwar - its single minded focus towards 'Entertaining India' with strong and innovative concepts across different entertainment avenues and the mantra of being No. 1 in the entertainment industry through best of breed partnerships with leading Indian and international content leaders and world class technology."

Adds SaharaOne Television sales, marketing and distribution president Satish Menon, "We are confident that SaharaOne will be the future of media entertainment in India. Today, we have the unique opportunity to offer entertainment concepts across different avenues on a scale and magnitude never before seen in the Indian entertainment industry."

Let's examine what the group is talking about by taking a closer look at the plans for each of the subdivisions:

SaharaOne Motion Pictures: 

SaharaOne Motion Pictures has entered into exclusive tie-ups with leading film producers and directors like Ram Gopal Verma and Boney Kapoor, among others. The company says in an official release that it will produce 46 films at an investment of Rs 1.85 billion, which will be released by next year.

Plans are underway to increase this to 70 films by next year, the release says. "As a key part of its strategy to create an unparalleled television software library, the perpetual satellite rights of these films will remain with SaharaOne Television," it adds.

SaharaOne Television:

SaharaOne Television plans to launch a dedicated 'Filmi' channel from 1 January, 2005.

"In line with best practices adopted by leading international studios, SaharaOne Television will enter into exclusive long term tie-ups with leading artistes, producers and technicians to develop original entertainment content with international production values for Indian audiences," the release says.

SaharaOne Television will also play host to the first ever international Sangeet Awards 2004 at the Royal Albert Hall, London on 1 October, to be attended by leading luminaries.

SaharaOne Radio:

SaharaOne Radio currently owns four channels on the WorldSpace Satellite Network. "With a potential of millions of listeners across different demographics, India presents one of the greatest opportunities for the satellite radio market anywhere on the globe. SaharaOne Radio plans to play a leading role in spurring growth in a hitherto untapped market," the release says.

SaharaOne Special Projects:

The Sahara Group is developing a state-of-the-art and fully digital film production facility, together with an academy for film and television arts in India. The central theme of this proposition is to provide an all in one Film Production and Finishing service to film producers and all others involved with film making. 

The Academy will offer imaginative curriculum with courses in Cinematography and Lighting, Production Sound and Picture, Directing, FX Motion Graphics, Motion Capture and Post Production, Web Animation and Independent Producing. A program so advanced, it's ahead of the curve with high-end development in drama and documentary venues utilising the latest technology being created in the digital marketplace, says the release. With a strong emphasis on creative development students have the unique opportunity of working in the studios during their Academy studies and after graduation.

The Film City team comprises a host of skilled specialists and experts from around the world, namely Alastair Monteith-Hodge, Anthony Pettifer, Jack McAdam, Rick Crandall, Donald Ramsey and Thomas Schurke.

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