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Peter Mukherjea, Vir Sanghvi declare truce

Bs Reporter  |  New Delhi 

In what seems to be an uneasy truce, Vir Sanghvi, CEO of X, the channel to be launched by INX Media, and INX Media's chief strategy officer Peter Mukerjea have issued a joint statement saying that the management differences will be settled amicably.
Last week, media reports suggested that NewsX CEO had been asked to leave. Speaking to Business Standard, Mukerjea and Sanghvi said: "We are old friends and are confident that we can resolve any difference that might have arisen in the spirit of goodwill and friendship."
When asked if Sanghvi was leaving as reported by the media, chairperson Indrani Mukerjea said: "We are continuing as we have earlier," and refused to elaborate.
The conflict in the top management became public last week with both sides accusing each other of mismanagement of the TV business. Sources in the camp said that the investors were unhappy with the performance of the company's entertainment channel and Indrani Mukerjea's interference in the business.
The Indrani Mukerjea camp hinted that Sanghvi was being asked to leave for delaying the news channel. INX Media's commitment to its investors says that the news channel must be launched before March 31.
To be sure, 9X, the entertainment channel hasn't exactly set the small screen on fire since its launch two months ago. For the last 9 weeks, the channel's weekly gross rating points (GRPs) have been between 37 and 40 compared to say, Star Plus, which hovers between 250 and 300. Some of its shows such as Mission Ustad and Dahej have grossed TRPs below one.
Media experts say that while it is too early to write the channel off, in days to come, competition for 9X will get only tougher with the launch of NDTV Imagine and the proposed channels from the Miditech-Turner and TV18-Viacom stable.
According to television monitoring agency TAM, the viewership share of 9X is about 4 per cent, which is closer to SAB TV rather than Star Plus or Zee TV that have 36 and 27 per cent respectively.
There were no clear signals from INX Media's board meeting held in Jodhpur on Monday either and the current attempt at quashing rumours seems to have stemmed from the pressure exerted by the INX investors.
is promoted by (formerly of Star India) and Indrani Mukherjea and funded by Temasek Holdings via Dunearn Investments, New Silk Route, New Vernon, Kotak and the SREI Group.
Indrani Mukerjea and Vir Sanghvi, incidentally, are the only two members on the board of NewsX. But Indrani Mukerjea is the majority shareholder and holds over 51 per cent in the news channel. INX Media, meanwhile, holds 26 per cent in the company. also has a three per cent stake in the news channel.

First Published: Wed, January 23 2008. 00:00 IST