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Viacom + Network18 = Viacom 18 Media

Viacom18 will include television, film and digital media content across numerous brands as well as consumer products to build India’s leading multi-platform entertainment powerhouse

Global media behemoth Viacom Inc. and Indian giant Network18 (through its group company, Global Broadcast News, GBN) have completed the formalities leading to the formation of their 50:50 joint venture in India, Viacom 18 Media Pvt. Ltd. The companies announced their plans for the joint venture in May 2007. Viacom18 will produce television, film and digital media content across numerous brands as well as consumer products to build India’s leading multiplatform entertainment powerhouse. Viacom18 will be managed by a six-member board with equal representation by Viacom and Network18.

Viacom18 will launch a new Hindi general entertainment channel in India early next year. The service will consist of original, locally produced programming, acquisitions and content from MTV Networks. The joint venture will operate the successful local networks, MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon India, of MTV Networks (MTVN), a unit of Viacom.

Robert Bakish, president, MTV Networks International, and chairman of the board of Viacom 18 Media, said, “This joint venture reinforces our long-term commitment to the Indian market. We look forward to expanding our presence in India with our new partners and are dedicated to providing local audiences with high quality entertainment that is reflective of their culture and the world around them across every screen and for every demographic.”

In the future, Viacom18 will also launch a suite of niche channels from the MTV Networks portfolio, as well as new brands. Digital media content across all the television brands will be developed and distributed to Indian consumers. The joint venture will also syndicate MTVN programming and newly produced content.

Commenting on the partnership, Raghav Bahl, managing director, Network18, said, “This is a momentous day that marks the foray of Network18 into the multiplatform entertainment space in India. Viacom’s inherent creativity and Network18’s operational excellence make a potent combination that places Viacom18 in an enviable position in the Indian entertainment space, to entertain India’s burgeoning film and television audiences.”

Studio18, the motion pictures division of Network18, is also an integral part of Viacom18 and it will continue to produce, acquire and distribute Hindi films.

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