Eyeing to dislodge Star from the top slot in the Hindi entertainment segment, Prannoy Roy-promoted media giant NDTV on Monday said it was in talks with major producers, including Ekta Kapoor, for serials on its to-be-launched channels.
The group would launch three channels under its new entertainment venture - NDTV Imagine, which will be headed by Star's ex-CEO Sameer Nair, credited with turning Star networks' fortunes with programmes like Kaun Banega Crorepati and plethora of hugely popular 'Saas-Bahu' serials.
"We will launch the first general entertainment channel in Hindi by the end of this year or early next year. We are in conversation with all major producers including Ekta Kapoor for producing serials on our channel," NDTV Imagine CEO Sameer Nair told reporters.
The second channel would be a movie channel, which would be launched around March, 2008. Nair, however, did not disclose the details of the planned third channel.
NDTV had recently got approval from FIPB for foreign investment to the tune of Rs 585 crore for its foray into entertainment and lifestyle space.
"Most of this investment (from Rs 585 crore) will be into NDTV Imagine," he said without divulging the exact figures.
Earlier this year, NDTV had announced a tie-up with Karan Johar's Dharma Productions for the venture. Karan Johar will be the creative consultant and the ambassador of the NDTV brand.
The company is also in discussions with leading production houses such as Hats Off and Synergy to come with new and different shows on its channel, which will target audience in the age group of 6-60 with a variety of programmes.
Nair said the company is targeting number one position after 12-15 months of launching the channel.
"Currently, there are only 3-4 major players in this space such as Sony, Star and ZEE among others. This segment is least cluttered," he said.
The Hindi General Entertainment Channel market is estimated at Rs 3,000 crore at a growth rate of 10-15 per cent.
Nair would be responsible for the strategic direction, operations and success of all entertainment properties under the new entertainment venture.
NDTV had also recently signed an agreement with Com Ventures for an investment of Rs 88.40 crore (USD 20 million) in its UK subsidiary NDTV Networks Plc.
The NDTV Group had floated NDTV Networks Plc, UK last year, with the aim of bringing in investments for the entertainment and other non-news channels.
NDTV Networks will be driving the group's new business initiatives worldwide comprising entertainment, lifestyle, convergence, outsourcing, new channels set up in different countries and software developments.