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Sony forays into regional TV with buy of Bengali movie channel - Sathish - 03-05-2009

MUMBAI: Sony has made a foray into the regional broadcasting space through the acquisition route.

Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) has acquired Channel 8, a Bengali movie channel, for an undisclosed amount. The channel will be under the management of SPTI's international networks group.

"The international networks group is continuously looking for new opportunities to expand, whether it's through acquisition or via the launch of an entirely new channel," said SPTI president international networks Andy Kaplan.

"We're excited by the prospects of Channel 8 and the revenue potential for us in the Bengal region. We look forward to providing even more high-quality Bengali-language programming in the region," Kaplan added.

Kolkata-based Channel 8, also known as Bangla Entertainment (BEPL), was launched in March 2008 and has licensed a library of Bengali films and telefilms. It originally started as a free-to-air service and will be converted to pay shortly. Channel 8 is currently available throughout West Bengal, Tripura and some parts of Assam and Orissa.

The channel joins SPTI's branded channels portfolio in the Indian market. SPTI already has television networks business in India, Multi Screen Media Private Limited, which includes the Hindi-language channels Sony Entertainment Television (SET), Max, Sab and English-language Pix. SPTI's AXN and Animax channels also air in India.