Scripps Networks Interactive, a leading developer of lifestyle-oriented content for television and the internet in the United States, has bought a majority stake in NDTV's lifestyle unit for $55 million (about Rs 2.5 billion), as part of its plan to expand internationally.
Scripps Networks has acquired 69 per cent of NDTV Lifestyle, anchored by NDTV Good Times, the English-language lifestyle television channel. NDTV Group will retain 31 per cent stake in the joint venture.
"This partnership gives us tremendous entrée to India's television-viewing and Internet-browsing public," says Greg Moyer, president of Scripps Networks International. Scripps Networks Interactive has made international expansion one of its primary business objectives.
Launched in 2007, NDTV Good Times is an award-winning channel with India's rapidly growing middle class as its target audience. It focuses on a wide range of lifestyle genres, including food, travel, fashion and style.
In 2008, the channel was judged as the best fashion and lifestyle channel in India at the country's annual INDY's Awards for excellence in mass communications, advertising and branding.
"With the NDTV Group, we've chosen a knowledgeable, highly respected partner that has a deep understanding of what it takes to engage and delight media consumers in India," says Moyer in a official communiqué.
Smeeta Chakrabarti, who has been the chief executive officer of NDTV Lifestyle since its inception, will continue in the same role, as will the other members of the NDTV Lifestyle management team.
"With the unparalleled experience that Scripps has in creating lifestyle brands and NDTV's depth of knowledge of the Indian market, we intend on building strong lifestyle media businesses that will aggregate large and engaged audiences in India," says Prannoy Roy, NDTV Group's founder and principal shareholder.
The proposed joint venture with the NDTV Group follows the formation of two other partnerships this year, which will result in significant distribution of the Scripps-owned Food Network in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Scripps' media portfolio includes television and internet brands such as HGTV, Food Network, Fine Living Network and country music network, Great American Country.
NDTV's share price rose about 10 per cent to Rs 144.05 on Friday on the Bombay Stock Exchange, while that of Scripps fell about a per cent on Thursday to $40.04 on the New York Stock Exchange.