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UTVi on air by April-end, inks content deal with ABC

BS Reporter  |  Mumbai 

Ronnie Screwvala-promoted media and entertainment company UTV Software Communications today unveiled its English business channel, UTVi. The channel will go on the air by April-end.
The company has entered into a content tie-up with Disney-ABC International Television (Asia-Pacific), the international TV distribution arm of The Walt Disney Company, for programming and services.
"The English business segment reflects a huge opportunity. Till date, the first mover in the business television space occupies nearly 80 per cent market share, which reflects a tremendous untapped opportunity. With UTV's experience in content, business and broadcasting, and one of the best teams assembled, we feel extremely excited to enter this space," said Ronnie Screwvala, CEO, UTV Software Communications.
He added, "The tie-up with ABC News will not only bring international perspective, but also add that cutting edge that our viewers will want from a well-rounded business news channel."
The channel is positioned to cater to the growing business aspirations of young Indians. According to UTVi executives, the programming of the channel will de-jargonise the financial markets.
ABC News President David Westin said, "We are pleased to be collaborating with UTVi in their new enterprise. This gives us an excellent opportunity to provide our reports to the people of South Asia as well as enhance our coverage of the region. We also plan to work with our new colleagues at UTVi to co-produce news programmes and bulletins, combining the expertise of both organisations for the benefit of the growing UTV audiences."
Arun Anant has been appointed as the CEO and Govindraj Ethiraj will be the editor-in-chief, while Sumit Gupta will be the chief operating officer.
In February, Walt Disney increased its stake in UTV Software Communications to 32 per cent from the previous 14.85 per cent. In addition, it also bought 15 per cent stake in UTV's broadcasting subsidiary. The deal is estimated around Rs 1,300 crore.
UTV Software Communication deals in motion pictures, new media (gaming and animation), broadcast and television content.
The company is slated to launch a bouquet of eight channels this year under its subsidiary, UTV Broadcasting. Last year, it launched a youth channel Bindass and movies channel Bindass Movies. It has also launched World Movies channel this year.

First Published: Thu, April 03 2008. 00:00 IST