Television

Industry veteran Sudesh Iyer picks up strategic equity stake in Vistas Media Capital

The fund will initially have an India focus and will expand into SouthEast Asia.

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MUMBAI: Media tycoon and ex co-founder of Sony Entertainment Television (SET Satellite Singapore) Sudesh Iyer has picked up a strategic equity stake in Vistas Media Capital (VMC) for an undisclosed amount.

 Iyer, based in Singapore, is an industry veteran with stakes in multiple businesses in the media and entertainment space across the region. He ran a successful advertising and an ad-film production company which he started in 1980. In the early 90s during the Gulf War, Iyer along with his friend Sushil Shergill set up a television network called ACE TV and they later entered into a joint venture with Sony Pictures Entertainment to set up Sony Television Network. Being the original founders of Sony Entertainment Television, Iyer ran the content arm of the network, producing more than 10,000 hours of content. A serial entrepreneur, Sudesh Iyer has incubated several start-ups in the health care, information technology, manufacturing and logistics sectors.

The strategic equity stake in VMC by Sudesh Iyer creates winning synergies across multiple axes for the company, which has big plans to increase its investments into India in the media and entertainment space while it continues to diversify into North America and Middle East. Together, they intend to launch a movie fund which will invest into both receivable financing as well as gap funding of projects. The fund will initially have an India focus and will expand into southeast Asia.

Vistas Media Capital is headquartered in Singapore and led by Abhayanand Singh - NRI banker turned media entrepreneur and has amongst other media stalwarts, the likes of former Viacom18 CEO Raj Nayak, on its advisory board.

VMC most recently announced the merger of its NASDAQ listed SPAC Vistas Media Acquisition Company (VMAC) with Abu Dhabi based leading music streaming platform Anghami on Nasdaq in a deal valued at approximately $220 million. Sudesh Iyer was a part of VMAC from the very beginning.

Spotify competitor Anghami is the largest music streaming platform in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with over 70 million registered users and 57 million songs. Anghami has become the first Arab tech company to list on NASDAQ and VMC is a trailblazer in the red-hot SPAC space in South East Asia.

VMC through its wholly owned subsidiary Golden Ratio Films currently holds investments and IPs in over 14 films and series in India and Hollywood. VMC’s content pipeline, presently at different stages of production spans across 25+ films and web series IPs cutting across Bollywood, Hollywood, and Indian regional cinema, which will form the company’s slate for the next three years.

Vistas Media Capital group CEO Abhayanand Singh said, “We are very excited to have Sudesh Iyer as a part of our company as it validates our vision which he has bought into and at the same time he brings in many decades of experience and network in media amongst multiple other winning attributes. His presence on the advisory board and mentorship will surely help the company expedite its growth in this dynamic space.”

In 2021, VMC will be launching a regional indian language over-the-top (OTT) super app, starting with Marathi language, which will be a one stop platform for films, series, music, live streaming, theatre, literature and podcast. This will be further expanded to other languages such as Gujarati, Bhojpuri, Bengali, and Punjabi in due course.

VMC co-owns with Motion Content Group (a GroupM company) and Film Critics Guild of India, two prestigious award IPs – Critics’ Choice Film Awards and Critics’ Choice Short & Series Awards.  

The South Asian Film Market (SAFM) and Singapore’s South Asian International Film Festival (Sg.SAIFF), which is in its fourth edition, are also part of the VMC portfolio.

Iyer added, “I am very excited to join a group of young entrepreneurs who are trying to bridge the gap between creativity and finance. They have a vision which is very well articulated through their recent developments and they are an agile team which is tracking the evolution of the merger of media and technology.”

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