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iTV Network in strategic alliance with Trilogic Digital for entertainment TV network
MUMBAI: Kartikeya Sharma’s iTV Network, which owns and operates six news channels including NewsX in English and India News in Hindi, is looking to build a non-news TV network in parallel.
For the same, the company has entered into a long-term strategic partnership with BSE-listed Trilogic Digital Media Ltd (TDML), a broadcast management and audiovisual content syndication company with interests spanning the spectrum of TV and digital media business.
As per the deal, TDML will look after the operations, including programming, marketing, distribution and monetisation of the soon-to-be-launched regional entertainment channels from iTV Network apart from recently launched ultra-high definition (UHD) channel Insight, for which iTV Network is a partner in India.
TDML will bring to the table a Hindi general entertainment channel (Sahara One), a Hindi movie channel (Filmy), and fashion and lifestyle channel (FTV). The upcoming launches from the group, a Bhojpuri entertainment channel called Phulwaa (next fiscal) and a travel channel with India focus will also be part of the alliance, TDML MD Vishal Gurnani told TelevisionPost.com.
“We signed the strategic alliance with iTV Network earlier this month. We will launch and operate the non-news channels and will also distribute the news channels under iTV Network,” Gurnani added.
When asked if iTV would take an equity stake in the company, Gurnani clarified that currently it is a ‘long-term strategic alliance’ and anything is possible.
“There are four big broadcasting networks in our country. In the next five years, by 2020, we would like to be the fifth one. We have the expertise of broadcast management and iTV brings great financial muscle and infrastructure. It is a perfect marriage,” Gurnani opined.
Incidentally, iTV network is also looking at entering the regional entertainment space. TelevisionPost.com was the first to report that after news, the work would launch an Assamese-language general entertainment channel, tentatively named ITV Hi Life and a Haryanvi entertainment channel, likely to be named ITV AND.
“It is an alignment where TDML will look after our entertainment channels business, while we focus on the news genre. We are looking at it as a long-term alliance,” iTV Network director and group CFO Arun Aggarwal commented.
Gurnani, who founded TDML along with Kamlesh Bhanushali (chairman of the company), said that the alliance would make significant investments in the existing as well as upcoming channels. “We are looking at an entertainment network with a GEC, a Hindi movie channel, a lifestyle channel, regional channels and a 4K channel. The investments are going to be significant as we have ambitious plans,” he said.
However, when asked about his plans to grow Sahara One and Filmy, he said that the company had been running the channels for over two years now for a small annual fee. “We have a long-term bulk airtime purchase and distribution agreement (BAPADA) with Sahara and are taking care of the programming, sales, marketing and distribution of the channels. We are soon going to invest in Filmy, which enjoys brand equity but currently running on a library catalogue,” Gurnani claimed. “We will start investing in content for both the channels. FTV anyway is No. 1 in the lifestyle genre.”
Partnership for iConcert
To expand the bouquet, the alliance has entered into a partnership with broadcast industry veteran Yogesh Radhakrishnan. Together, they will launch iConcert, an international live concert channel.
Radhakrishnan has been working on the idea for some time now, and the channel will be launched in cooperation with the iTV-TDML alliance by the end of this year.
Gurnani also confirmed that TDML is in talks to acquire a Hindi music channel.