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Volume no.: 1 Issue no. 4

19 October 1998

UTV ACQUIRES TAMIL TV CHANNEL

Mumbai-headquartered TV software production house UTV has taken over the Tamil language channel Vijay TV. UTV has offices in Canada, Mumbai and Singapore and is one of the leading producers in India. The channel was on the auctioning block for the past year since its owner, liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who heads the UB group, decided he didn't want to own it any more.

Vijay TV is reportedly losing more than 5 million every month ($125,000) and is number four in the Tamil language sweepstakes after DD, Sun TV, and Raj TV. The channel is being telecast off a transponder on Intelsat 704.

Mallya had earlier bought the channel from the Udayar family, which owns Golden Eagle Breweries, and re-christened it as Vijay TV. Despite several efforts, like hiring a new chief executive and bringing in new programming, he failed to turn it around. And he had had an outstanding of Rs 55 million with the former owners which he didn't clear.

UTV promoter Ronnie Screwvala, apparently, has taken on the liability and is settling dues with Golden Eagle. One source indicates that Screwvala has the backing of investment/venture capital firm Warburg Pincus. A couple of months ago he bought out Rupert Murdoch's 37% stake in UTV (Murdoch had invested 49% in the production house in 1995-96) with Warburg Pincus' assistance. The investment-banking firm now controls 24% of UTV's equity. Others point out that it is the multi-billion dollar industrial house of Tatas that is funding him. Screwvala and Vijay TV officials were not available for comment.

Screwvala has in recent times steered his firm into new areas, ranging from animation to sports management to movies to documentary production to tele-shopping, setting up new divisions and companies to manage each of the activities. Screwvala runs a group with a turnover in excess of Rs 1,000 million.

 
 

UTV takes over Tamil Channel Vijay TV

  Indian PM dons I&B mantle; No change in policy

  Alcatel Satellite venture gets nod; Liberal policy proposed

  Subscription channels questioned

  AXN channel to make Indian debut

 

Media survey throws up TV numbers

 

BiTV cable movied channel gets going

 

Zee Telefilms: Good results for first half

 

Asianet to go digital

 

SunTV launches Malayalam channel

 
  Channel [V] announces lineup for awards

  Three hauled up for Cable TV murder

 

Well Said

 

I have told them (information & broadcasting ministry officials) to give priority to her (former I&B minister Sushma Swaraj) plans. Our intention is to introduce the broadcasting bill in the Parliament's forthcoming session. Minister of state for information & broadcasting M.A. Naqvi quoted in Mid-Day.

 

 

MIP ASIA: 10-12 DECEMBER 1998, SINGAPORE. CABLE & SATELLITE ASIA 98: 9-11 DECEMBER 1998, SINGAPORE

 
 
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