NDTV, Astro snap up Red FM ops

MUMBAI/ NEW DELHI: After nurturing it since the birth of private radio broadcasting in the country in 2001, Aroon Purie’s Living Media Group, owners of India Today magazine and TV Today Network, has exited a radio venture lock, stock and every song in the library.

A clutch of investors, including infotech company Value Labs, Malaysian broadcaster Astro and premier Indian news organization NDTV, have joined hands to buy out the operations of Radio Today, the radio division of Living Media Group, for an undisclosed amount.

The government clearance to the deal, ahead of the start of financial bidding process for second round of FM radio later this month, came in yesterday. The actual agreement was formalised on Monday morning.

In the loose structure that is there at present, the Hyderabad-based Value Labs is the majority shareholder, while both NDTV and Astro hold minority stakes. Astro, being a foreign company, cannot hold more than 20 per cent stake in a FM radio venture as per government norms.

Though the companies involved were mum on the valuation of the radio company, sources close to the deal-making told that the Radio Today --- which runs stations under the brand name Red FM in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata --- deal was “more reasonable” than the BBC-Radio Mid-Day agreement.

“Even the buyers were a little surprised by the final price agreed for Radio Today,” a source said, hinting that the valuation agreed upon of Radio Today was lesser than that of Radio Midday

According to market indicators, Radio Mid-day was valued at between Rs 1.6 to Rs 1.8 billion. The company operates one FM station in Mumbai, compared to Radio Today’s presence in three cities.

In a statement issued in the afternoon today by the buyers, it was stated, “Associate companies of Value Labs and Astro, through their existing Indian joint ventures, have come together with NDTV News (subsidiary of NDTV) to acquire Radio Today (Mumbai) Broadcasting Limited, Radio Today (Delhi) Broadcasting Limited and Radio Today (Calcutta) Broadcasting Limited from the Living Media Group.”

The statement quoted Value Labs founder promoter and CEO Arjun Rao as saying, “We’re very excited with the opportunity to expand into the radio sector in India and hope to build upon our global experience in the multimedia space. The possibilities that exist in relation to creating an interactive eco-system across radio, television, Internet and mobile (phones) is something we're looking forward to."

Value Labs is a Hyderabad based global IT service provider, with extensive experience in telecom and multimedia application development.

NDTV Ltd director Narayan Rao added that they expect a lot of “cross media synergies by entering the (radio) space.”

NDTV and Astro relationship is not new. Last year, the Indian news broadcaster entered into a joint venture deal with Astro All Asia Network. Under the agreement, NDTV will hold up to 20 per cent in the joint venture with Astro Broadcast Corp LTD, a wholly owned company of Astro All Asia Network, to set up and broadcast 24-hour channels in South East Asia.

And, Astro’s interest in the Indian market is nothing new either. Astro CEO Ralph Marshall has been quoted by the Hong Kong-based Media Partners Asia publication Media Routes in 2004 as saying that the company would expand regionally with pay TV investments in Indonesia and radio ventures in India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Thailand and Vietnam.

In the mid-1990s, Astro/Measat had a pact with Doordarshan for a DTH service that never got off the block. At present, the Astro group provides marketing and back up support to two FM radio stations in Kolkata.

Also Read

Radio Today likely to sign deal with Measat

Government announces 1st list of FM Radio probables 

Govt clears revenue share in FM radio; FDI of 20% okayed

BBC Worldwide to invest Rs 318 million in Radio Mid Day; stake not finalised 

Latest Reads
Star Movies presents 'Films To See...' every weekday starting 7 Nov

Star Movies Select HD has been staying true to its promise of impeccable curation by showcasing the best. Star Movies sets standards of storytelling high inspiring a lot of others to try and re-invent the art of movie showcasing business.

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
Q2-17: Zee Media operating profit up

BENGALURU: The Essel Group’s news network Zee Media Corporation Limited (ZMCL) reported more than double (2.47 times) year-over-year (y-o-y) operating profit (Simple EBIDTA) for the quarter ended 30 September 2016 (Q2-17, current quarter) . The company reported EBIDTA of Rs 18 crore (14.3 per cent...

Television TV Channels GECs
National Geographic Channel to undergo major rebranding

MUMBAI: Come 14 November and the National Geographic Channel will have a new shortened sobriquet. The word channel will disappear from its name and it will be simply known as National Geographic and a new tagline “Further.” The change is expected to take place simultaneously across all the 445...

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary
Maha Cartoon targets 65 per cent rural HSM via DD FreeDish, 2000 LCOs

Who can forget the Charlie Chaplin show which entertained the world audience of all ages. Maha Cartoon, the first free-to-air (FTA) Hindi cartoon channel targeted at the Hindi-speaking markets (HSM), will be launched on India's largest DTH platform DD FreeDish on 1 November. The new Maha Cartoon...

Television TV Channels Kids
Vikram Chandra steps down; KVL Narayan Rao is new NDTV group CEO

The rumours that were making rounds of Vikram Chandra quitting NDTV have now been put to rest.

Television TV Channels People
Naagin helps Colors capture top position this week: BARC

Backed by Naagin Season 2, Colors was almost close to Star Plus to get the number one position, but, this week, Colors went few steps ahead and grabbed the leadership position and replaced Star Plus in week 42. Even in Urban GECs market, Colors toppled Star and took over the number one position.

Television TV Channels Viewership
SPN India to broadcast Barclays ATP World Tour finals

Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) will exclusively broadcast the upcoming ATP events in the month of November. The ATP 1000 Paris Masters will be aired live on Sony ESPN channels and will be streamed live on SonyLIV app and website. The ATP 1000 Paris Masters in Paris will begin on 31 October.

Television TV Channels Sports
Hunt for Zee Business head continues

MUMBAI: Zee Business, an arm of Zee Media Corporation, has seen several transitions in its management this year. The channel was initially headed by Amish Devgan, who decided to move away after serving for 14 years. It was then led by Zee Media Corporation’s then CEO for content Samir Ahluwalia,who...

Television TV Channels People
'King' content will take over monopolistic media entities, says Arnab Goswami

NEW DELHI: The future of news lies in breaking away from the interdependence of politicians and the media on each other.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories