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NDTV aims for international presence

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MUMBAI: If CNBC could come here and set up a JV news channel, what's to prevent someone from India doing the reverse? That seems to be what the Prannoy Roy promoted NDTV now has in the pipeline. The news broadcaster has chalked out for itself a business proposal envisaging providing consultancy to TV channels abroad and, in the process, picking up equity stakes in such ventures.

According to sources in the capital market, the company is looking at targeting TV channels in international arena in the financial year of 2006-07.

Though details of this NDTV proposal are not forthcoming, sources indicate that NDTV is looking at forming joint ventures with local TV companies in various countries, including those nearer home in Asia.

Such ventures, admittedly, would bring in revenue from consultancy, apart from extending the NDTV brand name globally. What is not clear at this stage though is whether the Indian company would convert its equity shareholding in JVs to have full-fledged NDTV channels in those countries.

One thing, however, is clear: NDTV would try to negotiate with TV companies in other countries to also have a common brand name (on the lines of CNBC TV 18) for channels managed by the joint ventures.

This initiative, market sources said, is part of an overall game plan of NDTV to tap all sources of revenue and expand globally.

Talks are said to be on with a few TV companies at present in this regard.

Meanwhile, though NDTV Ltd recorded a dip in net profits for the quarter ended 30 June 2005, which fell from Rs 76.3 million to just Rs 8.6 million, the company's expansion plans remain on course, according to analysts who track media stocks.

As per its own admission, NDTV Ltd has sought permission to uplink its fourth channel, while media reports insist a fifth channel too is in the pipeline. The fourth channel from the stable is likely to be named NDTV Nation, which will focus on various regions of the country.

NDTV's scrip opened Tuesday on the Bombay Stock Exchange at Rs 257.

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