Television

Hungama TV in talks for a strategic investor













MUMBAI: Hungama TV is in talks to rope in a strategic investor, shelving its earlier plans to get a pure equity partner. "With no pressure on raising funds, we are looking at an investor who would add strategic value. We have initiated discussions. The investor could either be a broadcaster or a content company engaged in kids programming," says UTV Software Communications director, operations and finance Ronald D‘Mello.

 
 


Hungama TV is also considering expansion into the South Indian language markets. Besides, it is examining opportunities to launch kids channels aimed at splitting multiple target audiences.


Hungama TV, says D‘Mello, is attracting reasonable revenues, including subscription income which has started flowing in since July. The channel expects to garner Rs 180 million in the current financial year. "We had agreed with our distribution partner Star India for a one year window where we would not be getting distribution revenues as this would go towards expenses. But the channel has succeeded and both of us agreed to advance the period by three months," adds D‘Mello.


The extension of the Hungama business is reflected in the joint venture deal with Malaysia‘s Astro All Asia Network for setting up kids channels in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and later Singapore. UTV will have the option to invest up to 20 per cent stake in the joint venture company within three years.


UTV estimates to generate $4 million upward revenues from this deal over the next three years. The company will be paid a fee for the services by Astro which includes setting up the channels, creating content, marketing and branding activities. Subsequently, Astro will have dubbing rights of Hungama TV content. The DTH service provider can also use Hungama formats and to produce it in those territories. "We estimate an inflow of $4 million from the services we render to the joint venture. Most of the revenues will get reflected in Hungama TV," says D‘Mello.

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