Karthikeya Sharma's ITV Media snaps up News X

MUMBAI: English news channel News X, floated first by former Star India CEO Peter Mukherjea and his wife Indrani, gets sold the second time as it struggles to find space in a revenue-thin market dominated by the trio NDTV 24X7, CNN IBN and Times Now. Headlines Today is the fourth channel in this space.

Karthikeya Sharma-promoted ITV Media has purchased the financially ailing channel to complement its clutch of news channels including Hindi channel India News.

News X was owned by Indi Media, a joint venture between NaiDunia promoter and CEO Vinay Chhajlani and former Businessworld editor Jehangir S Pocha.

Initially, Subhash Chandra-promoted Zee News Ltd. was in talks but did not find it viable to acquire it. The network, running a clutch of Hindi and regional language news channels, is planning to launch an English news channel.

Says ITV MD Kartikeya Sharma, ?This is a logical market expansion for us and enables us to enter the English news domain while strengthening our presence in the broadcast and digital media space. NewsX has emerged as a quality news provider with great growth potential and making it part of our group?s network of seven regional news channels will bolster news gathering abilities and create multiple synergies all around.?

Sharma is also the managing director of Piccadilly Group of Companies, which has interests in media, hospitality, agro business and infrastructure. Piccadilly runs Hindi news channel India News, besides state specific channels like India News Haryana and India News Bihar. Kartikeya is son of leading Haryana Congress leader Venod Sharma and the brother of Manu Sharma, a convict in the Jessical Lal murder case.

Good Morning India, Piccadilly‘s print media division, publishes a daily Hindi Newspaper called ?Aaj Samaj? from Delhi, Chandigarh, Gurgaon, Ambala, Panchkula, and Mohali. It also runs a political and social affairs magazine in Hindi called India News Weekly Magazine.

In a joint statement Chhajlani and Pocha said, ?We are happy to hand over the channel to the ITV Group and acknowledge the contribution of the team that has earned NewsX much recognition. Being part of the ITV Group will help NewsX transcend the limitations of being a stand-alone channel and give new thrust to the channel?s editorial and commercial development.?

INX News was started by Mukerjea and his wife Indrani, but was subsequently sold to IndiMedia following the couple‘s unsuccessful attempt to run the news channel.

According to media analysts, one of the reasons for ITV Media to gobble up News X is that it would save the company from the procedural delay of obtaining a licence.

"The acquisition will also provide a ready-made infrastructure. But how much of a strategic advantage it will bring in a space that is overcrowded remains to be seen," an analyst at a broking firm said.

Also read:

NaiDunia, Pocha buy NewsX

Zee meets but no deal on NewsX

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