NDTV Networks Plc, UK, seeks FIPB nod

MUMBAI: NDTV Group is setting up a company in the UK as part of its plans to launch a Hindi entertainment channel, sources close to the company say.

The company, NDTV Networks Plc, UK, is expected to own a stake in the Indian company that will launch the channel. It is not yet clear whether NDTV Networks will wholly own the Indian company or a part of the stake.

NDTV Networks has already made an application to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for approval, stating that the company's activities would include "non news and current affairs channels." More details are not available.

NDTV Ltd. had earlier announced it would form NDTV Ventures to start a slew of TV channels, including a Hindi general entertainment channel. The non-news forays would be undertaken by NDTV Ventures and will have under it the entertainment and new media divisions, the company had said.

NDTV Group will be raising money to support its entertainment channel, market sources say. The UK-based company will play a big role in lining up investments for NDTV's expansion plans in the area of non news channels, they add. How this will be structured, though, remains unclear at this stage.

When contacted, NDTV Ltd. director Narayan Rao declined to comment on the issue. "We will make an announcement of our plans soon," he said. NDTV's chief executive for growth and strategy Vikram Chandra also refused to talk on the subject.

NDTV has roped in filmmaker Karan Johar for the Hindi general entertainment channel. His production house, Dharma Productions, will hold a small equity stake in the channel.

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