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Subhash Chandra’s younger son Amit Goenka to steer ZEEL’s intl biz

MUMBAI: Much in the fashion of Rupert Murdoch, Indian media baron Subhash Chandra has got his younger son Amit Goenka inducted into the operations of his growing media empire.

Dr.-Subhash-Chandra,-ChairmanAmit, who is a non-executive chairman of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL), has been named chief executive officer of the international broadcasting business. The company feels that there is lot of opportunity available in the international market and thus, it has restructured the business for a more focused approach.

Chandra’s elder son Punit Goenka, who has been heading the media business since July 2008, continues as MD and CEO of the company.

Amit Goenka, 39, who also heads Pan India Network, the online gaming company of Essel Group, has mainly been involved with the non-media businesses of the group, which also included education and utilities. He was also given charge of the infrastructure business in 2013. At that time, the move was looked upon as a settlement of the succession issue between Chandra’s two sons.

Amit will now be steering the international business of ZEEL towards its goal of ‘being amongst the top global media conglomerates by the year 2020’. By then, ZEEL wants 50 per cent of its revenues generating from the international business.

Currently, for the second quarter of the fiscal ended 30 September 2015, the international business has clocked total revenue of Rs 202.2 crore (Rs 2.02 billion), or 14.6 per cent of ZEEL’s operating rePunit Goenkavenue in the quarter.

Out of this, international advertising revenue stood at Rs 73.5 crore (Rs 735 million), subscription revenue was at Rs 103.9 crore (Rs 1.04 billion) and revenue from other sales and services stood at Rs 24.8 crore (Rs 248 million).

In the international markets, ZEEL has 36 dedicated channels serving Indian content across 169 countries. Its international business operations are carried out by various direct and indirect subsidiaries overseas through their offices in 13 international locations (including representative office and/or distribution arrangement) with the major ones in Singapore, Mauritius, the UK, UAE, China, South Africa, Canada, and the USA.

The company said that ZEEL’s international business continues to perform strongly driven by global demand for the products. “ZEE intends to continue to grow this business and ensure timely and appropriate investments to capitalise on this opportunity,” it said.

Reorganisation of international business

Meanwhile, in order to provide clear focus on international broadcasting operations, the company has also got board approval to transfer all the international channels housed under different subsidiaries to a wholly owned subsidiary of Asia Today Ltd.

Amit GoenkaCurrently, the international channels are under overseas subsidiaries Asia Today Ltd, Mauritius, which is being renamed ATL Media Ltd, and Zee Multimedia Worldwide (Mauritius) Ltd, or their respective subsidiaries.

This will, however, exclude sports channels, English channels and uplinking activities of the company.

“The board has approved in-principle re-organisation of the overseas broadcasting operations of all international channels (excluding sports channels, English channels and uplinking activities) currently housed under the company’s overseas subsidiaries Asia Today Ltd, Mauritius (being renamed ATL Media Ltd) and Zee Multimedia Worldwide (Mauritius) Ltd, and/or their respective subsidiaries, by transferring these to a wholly owned subsidiary of Asia Today Ltd,” the company said. “This restructuring shall not have any effect on the consolidated operations/financial statements of the company.”

Meanwhile, in a related development, the ZEEL board also approved write-off of an investment of GBP 3.25 million (equivalent to Rs 33.06 crore or Rs 330.6 million) made by Asia Today Ltd in March 2013 for acquiring minority stake in MirriAD Ltd, a UK-based digital brand integration agency.

“This write-off was on account of continuing losses and consequent capital reduction/restructuring in MirriAD Ltd,” ZEEL said.

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