August 2010
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Network18 and Sun form distribution alliance, Sun18

Network18 Group and Sun Network have formed a strategic alliance to launch a distribution venture called Sun18. The alliance's new bouquet will comprise Viacom18 channels, Network18 channels, Disney channels and 20 Sun Network channels.

As part of the agreement, Sun18 will distribute a total of 33 channels, across all platforms in India, via all networks, including cable, DTH, IPTV, HITS and MMDS. The bouquet will comprise Network18's CNN-IBN, CNBC-TV18, CNBC-Awaaz, IBN-7 and IBN-Lokmat; Viacom18's Colors, MTV, Nick and Vh1; Sun Network's Sun TV, KTV, Sun News, Sun Music, Chutti TV, Adithya, Gemini TV, Teja TV, Gemini News, Gemini Music, Navvulu TV, Kushi TV, Surya TV, Kiran TV, Udaya TV, Udaya Movies, U2, Udaya Varthegalu, Ushe TV and Chintu TV; and Disney India's The Disney Channel, Disney XD and Hungama TV.

With these 33 channels, the Sun18 bouquet is already the highest GRP delivering bouquet in the Indian television space. The venture will also seek to explore opportunities in aggregating third-party channels.

As part of this strategic alliance, the business has been divided into two new companies -- Sun18 Media Services North Co and Sun18 Media Services South Co. Sun18 South will manage the South India market (non Hindi-speaking-markets) and will be operated by the Sun Network. Sun18 North will manage markets in the rest of India, and will be operated by the Network18 Group.

Sun18 North will be headed by Haresh Chawla (group CEO - Network18 and Viacom18) as its CEO and director. Rajesh Kamat (group COO - Viacom18 and CEO - Colors) will be the COO of Sun18 North. Sun18 South will be headed by Tony D'Silva as its CEO.

Speaking about the partnership, Raghav Bahl, founder, Network18 Group, says, "This partnership extends Network18's presence into yet another critical component of the Indian television and entertainment space. In Sun Group, we have found a partner that not only complements our own strengths, but is also as ambitious to change the landscape of the Indian broadcasting industry."

Kalanithi Maran, chariman and managing director, Sun Network, says, "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. In them, we believe we've found an alliance partner to fuel our distribution plans for the rest of the country."

STAR-DEN the joint venture between STAR India and DEN Network was distributing Network18 channels. DEN Networks is a distribution company promoted by Sameer Manchanda, an industry veteran with over 20 years of experience in media and channel distribution. Raghav Bahl, promoter, Network18 Group, is a director of the company.

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