UGC's takeover of Zone Vision may impact Zee Turner

NEW DELHI: Nasdaq-listed UnitedGlobalCom's (UGC) acquisition of Zone Vision is likely to impact the relationship between Reality TV and Zee Turner in India. Zone Vision manages reality show-based channel Reality TV.

Negotiations are being held in India with Zee Turner to chart a roadmap for the future after the restructuring is formally effected, a source in Zone Vision said. Zee Turner distributes Reality TV in India.

In a January deal, UGC's European content subsidiary, Chellomedia, acquired an 87.5 per cent interest in Zone Vision Networks Ltd. from its current shareholders, including Advent International Corporation. Total consideration for the transaction amounted to $50 million in cash and $15 million in UGC stock. The stock is subject to a five-year vesting period.

Along with a host of other TV channels and formats, Zone Vision, founded in 1991, owns and manages Reality TV that entered India few years back.

UGC is a leading international broadband communications provider of video, voice and Internet services, with operations in 14 countries. On 30 September, 2004, UGC's networks reached approximately 15.5 million homes and over 11.1 million subscribers, including over 9.1 million video subscribers, 761,000 voice subscribers, and 1,299,800 high-speed Internet access subscribers.

This acquisition of Zone Vision, which has a host of channels thriving in various parts of the globe, represents an opportunity for UGC to strengthen their programming activities in Europe.

As UGC expands its rollout of digital video and broadband Internet services, the need to develop and control attractive content becomes increasingly more important. Since the Reality TV programming team is a creative and entrepreneurial one with exactly the sort of talented managers of content and media services that are required to grow the channel business, this acquisition is viewed as one with tremendous business potential, the sources explained.

While probes further on the possible impact on Reality TV's Indian operations, keep tuned in for more on this development.

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