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Turner gets real for India with Imagine

business Updated: Dec 18, 2009 17:11 IST
Rachit Vats

It began with a whimper. Can it now graduate to a bang?

The board of Time Warner board has cleared the acquisition of a 92 per cent stake in NDTV Imagine by its Turner arm for $126.5 million (Rs 595 crore) helping it move forward in India’s hot entertainment TV market after its first venture Real fizzled out.

“NDTV Imagine, has carved a niche and complements our game plan in this area,” said Anshuman Misra, Turner International India’s managing director.

Turner is keen to grab a pie in the market in which Colors, the joint venture between its global rival Viacom and Network 18, has come out at the top amid competition from the likes of Rupert Murdoch’s Star TV and the Zee group.

Turner’s initial JV in the general entertainment channel (GEC) space with the Alva Brothers’ Miditech made no waves, while NDTV Imagine, after a big bang start, has slipped from the top rung. Imagine registered an impact with reality show Rakhi Ka Swayamvar and a re-made Ramayana. Misra said the Real relationship was being reassessed but gave no details.

Times Warner Group is the fourth largest global entertainment conglomerate after Walt Disney, NewsCorp and Viacom.

NDTV Imagine, according to TAM viewership data, stands fifth after Colors, Star Plus, Zee, Sony.

Sameer Nair will continue as Chief Executive Officer.