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May 7, 2002 | 1210 IST
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TV 18 scraps plan to launch entertainment channel

BS Corporate Bureau

Television Eighteen has scrapped plans to launch its proposed entertainment channel.

The company has enhanced its focus on its co-venture with CNBC Asia - CNBC India - and has defined business news as the core area of focus. CNBC India has now put in place its own marketing team as its marketing alliance with Sony now stands cancelled.

Hence, TV 18 would now handle the sales of advertisement time of CNBC India business news channel, which was previously managed by Sony Entertainment Television.

TV 18 now only has a distribution alliance with SET for CNBC India effective until March 2003, which the company may or may not continue.

Haresh Chawla, CEO of CNBC India, said, "We have defocused from the entertainment business. We have no plans to launch an entertainment channel."

The company, having recently downsized its headcount, is however continuing with its existing exposure in the entertainment business. TV 18 holds 49 per cent stake in CNBC India and was planning to offload 20 per cent stake to SET, which now stands changed.

"We have no plans to dilute equity. We invested when the company was going through difficult times and sometime back we were looking for a partner for fund infusion."

"But today, we have emerged as the market leader in the business news segment. Moreover, we no more have the fund requirement. So why offload a stake?" Chawla added.

TV 18 is the exclusive content provider for CNBC India for its entire India-based programming. The revenues growth from the business is around 30-35 per cent on a Y-o-Y basis.

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