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Network18 Group floats JV with A&E Television
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Raghav Bahl-promoted Network18 Group is floating a joint venture with US-based A&E Television Networks (AETN).

Network18 Group will have a 51 per cent stake in the JV titled AETN-18 India. The entity will launch the popular AETN channels in India, which includes factual entertainment channels such as History and Bio among others.

The JV will be based in Mumbai and will be owned by AETN and ‘New TV18’ eventually (the broadcasting business company post-recently announced restructuring).

Network18 founder and editor Raghav Bahl said, “AETN-18 will endeavour to mirror the success that channels like History have had in the US. I believe the time is right for India to have a vibrant and dynamic factual entertainment space, led by channels like History.”

“I am delighted about the launch of our new joint venture with Network18 in India,” added AETN president and CEO Abbe Raven. “India presents us with strong growth opportunities for AETN’s global portfolio strategy. We believe that in Network18, we’ve found the best partner for launching AETN’s brands. We look forward to a long and successful partnership in this important market.”

The timelines for the launch of various channels will be announced shortly. BMR Advisors acted as transaction advisors to Network18 Group.

“We believe that industry leader Network18’s extensive infrastructure and local market expertise matched with AETN’s acclaimed brands and content will create a formidable media presence in India,” said AETN EVP Enterprises Steve Ronson.

Headquartered in New York, AETN’s brand portfolio includes A&E Network, HISTORY, Lifetime, BIO, Crime & Investigation Network, Military History, Lifetime Movie Network, History International, History en espanol and Lifetime Real Women. Outside the US, AETN’s 44 channels and blocks reach over 250 million TV households in more than 150 countries. Internationally, AETN deploys its brands and content via channels, content sales, digital media distribution and home entertainment/electronic sell through.

Network18 Group CEO Haresh Chawla added, “We hope to be able to create a unique position in the Indian market and become the number one player in the factual entertainment space. I am confident that AETN’s programming prowess will be matched with Network18’s skill sets in brand building, distribution and monetisation. Greater addressability and growth in the pay TV market will help us capitalise on this significant, but relatively ‘under-serviced’ space. AETN-18 will endeavour to redefine the factual entertainment genre in India.”

Network18 recently forayed into the TV distribution space through a joint venture with the Sun Group to form Sun18.
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