TV18 and Viacom18 have announced a strategic joint venture IndiaCast, a multi-platform ‘Content Asset Monetization’ entity. IndiaCast is mandated to drive domestic and international channel distribution, placement services and content syndication for TV18, Viacom18, A+E Networks I TV18 and the Eenadu group (post completion of its acquisition by TV18).
Between the four entities, there are 26 channels. In addition to these, IndiaCast will also distribute Sun Network and Disney channels in the Hindi Speaking Markets (HSMs). In the South, IndiaCast will distribute everywhere expect in Tamil Nadu.
Anuj Gandhi will be the group chief executive officer of IndiaCast, and Gaurav Gandhi its chief operating officer.
Sai Kumar, group chief executive officer, Network18 and TV18, said, “The Indian distribution market is throwing up ample opportunities and we are uniquely poised to make the most of this proposed alliance in an increasingly digitised environment. We have entrusted this mandate with Anuj, who brings with him impeccable leadership and rich experience across various formats.”
Bob Bakish, president and chief executive officer of Viacom International Media Networks, said, “As the Indian market continues to expand and evolve, the move to bring two media houses and proposed consolidation of Eenadu channels post acquisition into one distribution sales house presents an opportunity to accelerate our growth in the region, while increasing efficiencies of operation. We’re excited about the potential of IndiaCast and are looking forward to deepening our partnership with TV18 and Eenadu Group.”
Anuj Gandhi added, "The new venture gives a clear impetus to digitalization. Also, it brings more channels and greater flexibility to consumers. The company will be the focal point not only for content and media distribution but also to drive the content asset monetisation business of TV18, Viacom18, A+E Networks I TV18 and Eenadu Group. The growth and way forward for media brands in the journey ahead is through content asset monetisation - taking content across geographies, platforms and mediums.”
The development implies that Sun18, the distribution entity formed in 2010 between Network18 Group and Sun Network, will cease to function as envisaged during its launch. The business was to operate through two companies - Sun18 Media Services North (operated by Network18) and Sun18 Media Services South (operated by Sun Network). Gaurav Gandhi, who has been named COO of Indiacast, was COO for Sun18 Media Services North. With Indiacast confirming that it will not handle distribution in Tamil Nadu, it is expected that Sun18 will.