MTV Networks India is launching VH1 in the territory, in a partnership with leading Indian cable company Zee-Turner.

MTV Networks India is launching VH1 in the territory, in a partnership with leading Indian cable company Zee-Turner.

VH1, which goes live Dec. 31, will focus on international music and lifestyle content. Market leaders MTV India and Channel V mainly feature domestic music content.

Zee-Turner, a joint venture between Mumbai-based broadcaster Zee Telefilms and Delhi-based Turner International India, will offer VH1 on its cable system and via Dish TV, India's first direct-to-home satellite distribution system.

VH1 will be MTV Networks India's third channel, after MTV India and Nickelodeon.

Shridhar Subramaniam, managing director of Sony BMG Music India, says the time is right to roll out VH1 for Indian audiences. "International music accounts for around 15% of music sales in India by value," he says. "Until five or six years ago, we had some dedicated channels for English music; now, we have none. So, if VH1 gets it right, there is a potentially lucrative market."

MTV Networks India managing director Alex Kuruvilla adds, "Indian viewers have been clamoring for this treasure trove of international music and content. VH1 will be the much-needed boost for the music industry's efforts to promote international music in India."