Zee to launch localised channel in South East Asia

MUMBAI: Zee Telefilms is in talks with a media company to produce a localised TV channel for the South East Asian region.

"We are in discussions for a partnership deal with a South East Asian company to put out a customised channel in the region," says a source. He, however, did not disclose the name of the company.

According to the talks, Zee will provide the customised content for the channel while the partner will be responsible for dubbing and distributing the channel on the direct-to-home (DTH) platform across the region. There will be a revenue share arrangement between the two companies.

"Zee will be responsible for the customisation of this feed. It is different from the content syndication business that Zee does across the globe and will be a significant development if the deal sails through," the source says.

The customised channel for the South East Asian region is planned for a launch this October. It will be in multiple languages across the region and be distributed on the DTH platform, he adds.

Zee has a strong overseas presence with its Hindi and regional language channels, particularly in the UK and US markets. The company's international business includes a separate South Asian feed which was launched a year back. But Zee does not have a locally produced channel in the international market.

Indian companies are exploring options of developing partnerships overseas. Subhas Ghai-promoted Mukta Arts has completed a turnkey project for Dubai-based city-centric fashion and lifestyle content channel INTV. For setting up the channel operations, the company was paid an amount and given 10-15 per cent equity in Arab Venture Corporation, the holding company of INTV.

Kalanithi Maran's Sun Network has done a different deal with Malaysia-based Astro All Asia Networks Plc. The $25 million joint venture includes collaboration in content creation for filmed and other entertainment products in Indian languages including Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi and Bengali for distribution to international markets. A Tamil channel would be developed exclusively for distribution on the Astro DTH multi-channel television platform in Malaysia and other South East Asian markets. The launch of Surjo, a Bengali language channel, also falls within the ambit of the joint venture.

Incidentally, Astro recently made an announcement that it would invest over the next three years to develop channels on its own and through joint ventures in Malay, Mandarin and certain Indian languages to be distributed locally and internationally.

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