Indian media company Network18 said on Wednesday it would invest $90.5 million over three years in its joint venture with Viacom Inc, which will launch a Hindi-language general entertainment channel in India next year.
The equal joint venture, Viacom 18 Media Pvt Ltd, will include television, film and digital media content, and will also launch niche channels from the MTV Networks portfolio, it said.
The tie up, which will be managed by a six-member board with equal representation from both companies, will also operate Viacom’s MTV and VH1 and Nickelodeon India channels.
Announced in May, the venture will also include Studio18, the motion pictures division of Network18, which will produce, acquire and distribute Hindi-language films.
The investments will be made by Network18 units BK Holding Mauritius and Global Broadcast News Ltd.
Global Broadcast has the option to acquire the shareholding of BK Holding, taking its holding in Viacom 18 to 50%.
Viacom 18’s Hindi general entertainment channel will take on leader News Corp’s Star India, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd and Sony Entertainment Television in an increasingly crowded market.
More than 100 new TV channels are scheduled to launch within a year in India, the world’s third-biggest cable TV market. It is forecast to become Asia’s most lucrative pay TV market by 2015.