Television

Network 18 announces film foray; sets up Studio 18

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MUMBAI: Network 18, the holding company of TV18 Group, has officially announced its foray into the big money game --- movie business.

The company launches Studio 18, a full spectrum division that will mark the group’s entry in the motion picture business. With this the company is also planning to launch a home video label for Studio 18.

The announcement confirms news first put out (in June) by Indiantelevision.com that TV18 promoter Raghav Bahl was floating a company that would be involved in producing and distributing movies.

Studio 18 will look into the aspects of acquisition, production, syndication and distribution of full-length feature films. Based in Mumbai, the company will have its distribution offices in London and New York, according to an official statement.

Studio 18 will be headed by former Sahara-One Motion Pictures COO Sandeep Bhargava while Priti Shahani will lead the marketing division. Additionally, she will also be heading the syndication and distribution business for the company.

The company has also roped in former UTV Motion Pictures VP international & acquisition Ashoka Holla to head the international distribution and acquisitions business. He will also be responsible for launching and driving the Home Video label for Studio 18.

While, former Percept Picture Company production business head Chitra Subramanian, who was instrumental in developing and producing several movies like Hanuman, Malamaal Weekly, and Corporate, will head the production division. She has in the past worked closely with filmmakers like Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Priyadarshan, Nagesh Kukunoor and Madhur Bhandarkar.

Deepti Chawla will head the creative function. She comes with a background in advertising and film-making and can be credited for effective packaging of films like Hanuman, Malamaal Weekly and Corporate.

Sibashish Sarkar has been appointed as CFO. Sarkar has spent 13 years across various FMCG and other industries, working with organizations like Godrej Sara Lee, Shaw Wallace & Hindustan Cables. The last three years have seen him in Entertainment companies like UTV and Percept Picture Company where he has played a strategic role in financial restructuring and been instrumental in setting systems and processes for the business.

Vandana Malik and Sanjay Ray Chadhuri, both founding shareholder-directors of the TV18 Group, will act as creative advisors for Studio 18.

Speaking at the launch, Raghav Bahl, TV 18 Group managing director, said: "We are excited about our entry into India’s dynamic entertainment industry. Studio 18 is a key component in our strategy to transform Network 18 into a full-play media conglomerate, with a leadership position in motion pictures, news broadcasting and internet portals."

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