Network18 Group and Sun Network have announced a strategic alliance to launch what is said to be one of India’s biggest distribution entities, called Sun18. This alliance marks the entry of Network18 Group into the Indian television distribution space.
As part of the agreement, Sun18 will distribute a total of 33 channels provided by Network18, Viacom18, Sun Network and Disney India Network via all networks including cable, DTH, IPTV, HITS and MMDS. The option to aggregate third party channels is also one of the opportunities the venture will seek to explore.
As part of the strategic alliance, the business will operate through two new companies that are being formed – Sun18 Media Services North Co. (operated by Network18) and Sun18 Media Services South Co. (operated by Sun Network). Sun18 North will be headed by Haresh Chawla (Group chief executive officer - Network18 and Viacom18) as its chief executive officer and director. Rajesh Kamat (Group chief operations officer – Viacom18 & Chief executive officer - Colors) will be the chief operations officer of Sun18 North. Sun18 South will be headed by Tony D’Silva as its chief executive officer.
(Left to Right: Tony D’ Silva, Ajay Vidyasagar, Kalanithi Maran, Raghav Bahl, Haresh Chawla, Rajesh Kamat)
Speaking about the partnership, Raghav Bahl, founder, Network18 Group, said, "This partnership extends Network18's presence into yet another critical component of the Indian television and entertainment space. In Sun Group, we've found a partner that not only complements our own strengths, but is also as ambitious to change the landscape of the Indian broadcasting industry." He further added, “Distribution is one of the high-growth areas in this industry and we’re excited to now have a presence in this part of the business as well.”
Kalanithi Maran, chairman and managing director, Sun Network, said “Sun18 is a very important initiative for us in the distribution platform business and is being created with the vision of better leveraging our very successful television brands across the country. Network 18 is one of the best managed media enterprises in India, and in them, we believe we have found an alliance partner to fuel our distribution plans for the rest of the country. The content assets and resources of Sun TV Network and Network 18, will enable us to continue to thrive in an ever-changing media landscape. Consumers of all of our products – on screens large and small – will have the benefit of enhanced content and experiences, delivered to them in new and better ways as a result of this initiative. It also signals our deep commitment to drive greater growth from subscription revenues.”