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Recapping 2012

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The year 2012 was an action-packed one for the television broadcasting industry. India began its historic journey with digitisation and the first phase kicked off in November. NDTV filed a landmark case in New York against TAM Media Research and its holding companies Nielsen, Kantar Media and Cavendish Square Holding BV. Broadcasters united to put pressure for creation of a new Broadcasters Audience Research Council (Barc).

The year also witnessed a slew of deals and marked the entry of two big industrial houses into television broadcasting -- Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) by helping Raghav Bahl‘s Network18 group to snap up ETV and the Aditya Birla Group by acquiring a 27.5 per cent stake in Aroon Purie‘s Living Media, which runs TV Today Network.

Sahara made an entry into cable TV distribution and acquired Digicable. Network18 Group formed a distribution company, IndiaCast, which will also house the syndication business and exploit content across all media platforms.

It was the year in which Zee Network completed 20 years, after having pioneered private television broadcasting in India. The year saw a Hindi general entertainment channel Imagine, which was acquired by Turner from NDTV, being zapped, when it slipped below the second-rung Hindi general entertainment channels (GECs).

The sports genre saw the exit of The Walt Disney Company with News Corp acquiring its 50 per cent interest in their joint venture ESPN Star Sports for $335 million. Sony, which has the rights for the Indian Premier League, launched its first sports television channel. After having agreed to buy Walt Disney‘s interest in ESPN Star Sports, Star India pipped Multi Screen Media (MSM) to bag BCCI media rights till 2008 for a whopping Rs 38.51 billion.

There was a lot of action during the year in the kids TV genre. Though BBC‘s advertisement free Cbeebies channel exited India citing prohibitive carriage fees, a few kids‘ channels got added to the bouquet. Discovery Kids, Disney Junior, ZeeQ and Nick Jr were launched during the year, which coincided with the beginning of the compulsory shift to digital delivery of television channels in the country.

Channel launches:

  • Star launches its second Hindi movie channel Movies OK under ‘Ok‘ brand
  • Star launches Bengali movie channel Star Jalsha Movies
  • Star-owned Asianet Communications launches Asianet Movies, the first satellite movie channel in Malayalam
  • Zeel launches Bengali movie channel Zee Bangla Cinema
  • After a football and cricket dedicated channel, Zeel launches its third specialised offering Ten Golf
  • Zeel enters kids genre with ZeeQ, an edutainment channel targeted at 4-14 kids
  • Viacom18 launches its third kids channel with preschool channel Nick Jr
  • Disney launches a full-fledged pre-school offering with Disney Junior
  • Discovery enters kids segment in India with Discovery Kids
  • MSM‘s much awaited sports channel Sony Six makes a debut during IPL
  • HBO partners Eros to announce launch of two ad free channels HBO Defined and HBO Hits
  • Reliance Broadcast Network (RBNL) and European entertainment network RTL Group joint-venture launch their first channel Big RTL Thrill
  • Big CBS, the joint venture between RBNL and CBS Corp, forays into regional TV space with the launch of its fourth channel, Spark Punjabi
  • Leading Gujarati dailies Sandesh and Gujarat Samachar enter television market with the launch of their news channels, GS TV News and Sandesh TV
  • 9X Media launches its international music channel 9XO
  • Softline Creations enters TV broadcasting with Cinema TV
  • Delhi-based production house AAP Media launches Bhojpuri entertainment channel Anjan TV

Deals:

  • Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries (RIL) marks his entry into media and entertainment space by investing in Network18
  • Media & Investments and TV18 Broadcast through an Independent Media Trust
  • News Corp and The Walt Disney Company end their Asian sports JV ESPN Star Sports with the former taking complete ownership of the sports broadcasting company for $335 million
  • Aditya Birla Group acquires 27.5 per cent stake in Aroon Purie-controlled Living Media, which runs TV Today Network
  • Sahara acquires 90 per cent stake in Digicable for $52 million
  • Sony Pictures Television, the parent company of Multi Screen Media (MSM), makes its regional foray as it agrees to acquire 30 per cent stake in Maa Network
  • Ajay Bijli-promoted PVR buys out promoter stake in Cinemax for Rs 3.95 billion to become biggest multiplex operator in the country
  • Karthikeya Sharma-promoted ITV Media snaps up News X from Indi Media, a joint venture between NaiDunia promoter and CEO
  • Vinay Chhajlani and former Business World editor Jehangir S Pocha
  • After a decade long rocky relationship, the Indian shareholders of MSM exit the television company with Sony Pictures Television (SPT) acquiring 32 per cent stake in MSM for $271 million
  • The Walt Disney Company buys out Ronnie Srewvala‘s stake in UTV Group for Rs 8.05 billion
  • CA Media picks up 49 per cent stake in Endemol India
  • Cisco becomes largest video and content security solutions provider in India with its $5 billion global acquisition of NDS

Exits:

  • News Corp exits cable business in India as it divests 17.3 per cent stake in Hathway Cable for Rs 3.58 bn
  • Walt Disney‘s ESPN exits sports broadcasting in Asia following stake sale in ESS
  • News Corp exits news business in India and is in process of selling its 26 per cent stake in Media Content and Communications
  • Services (MCCS), the company that runs Star News (ABP News), Star Majha (ABP Majha) and Star Jalsha (ABP Majha), to JV partner ABP Group
  • Turner ends its expensive date with Hindi GEC space, shutters Imagine TV citing unviability
  • ABP Group exits Bengali GEC space by shutting Sananda TV more than a year after its launch
  • NDTV ends ad sales partnership with News Corp‘s Star India; to handle ad sales on its own

Government

  • Information and Broadcasting ministry extends the digitisation deadline for the first phase of digitisation in four metros to 31 October
  • Ahead of digitisation, government raises foreign direct investment (FDI) ceiling to 74 per cent from 49 per cent in DTH and MSO biz; FDI limit in teleports and hubs set up for uplinking of television channels also raised to 74 per cent
  • Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari takes charge as the new Information and Broadcasting minister replacing Ambika Soni
  • Arasu fails to get DAS licence for Chennai despite repeated pleas to the government
  • MIB kicks-off the second phase of digitisation covering 38 cities and towns across 14 states
  • Rahul Khullar appointed as the new chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) for a three-year term
  • Former Supreme Court judge Justice Cyriac Joseph appointed as the new chairperson of the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (Tdsat)

Some other milestones:

  • Star India bids a whopping Rs 38.51 billion to bag the BCCI media rights till 2018
  • Sun TV bags Hyderabad franchise for Rs 4.25 billion, bidding higher than PVP Ventures‘ Rs 3.45 billion
  • BCCI terminates Deccan Chargers franchise agreement followed by a protracted legal battle which ends with Supreme Court finally upholding Chargers termination
  • The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) and Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) form audience research joint body Broadcast Audience Research Council (Barc)
  • New Delhi Television (NDTV) files a lawsuit against TAM and its holding companies in New York Supreme Court for manipulation of viewership data
  • Channel [V] stops airing Bollywood music from 1 July becomes a Youth GEC
  • TV18 and Viacom18 form distribution joint venture IndiaCast to distribute all channels and content of the two companies in India and abroad
  • Congress MP Naveen Jindal files FIR against Zee News for allegedly demanding Rs 1 billion in extortion to go slow on its coverage of Coal scam which leads to the arrest of Zee News and Zee Business editors Sudhir Chaudhary and Samir Ahluwalia
  • Aamir Khan makes his TV debut with Satyamev Jayate, which creates massive buzz in the social media
  • After yearlong negotiations, Sun TV strikes a distribution deal with Tamil Nadu government-owned Arasu Cable TV Corporation
  • Pepsi replaces DLF as the title sponsor of IPL, forks out Rs 3.95 billion to take the rights
  • Youth focussed channel Big CBS Spark transitions into a music channel
  • UTV bindass undergoes makeover, sheds UTV in its name and takes the positioning ‘Rest Less‘
  • MSM CEO Man Jit Singh is elected IBF president
  • History TV18 launches Urdu feed
  • Discovery Science goes regional with Hindi fee

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