Mumbai, and Burbank, Calif. – July 25, 2006. The Walt Disney Company today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Hungama TV, a leading Indian children’s television channel, and take an equity interest in media company UTV Software Communications Limited, in each case subject to regulatory approval. Once final, the acquisition will continue to firmly establish The Walt Disney Company’s strategic presence in a rapidly growing media market, where local content production is key.
“India is a long-term strategic priority for The Walt Disney Company. The acquisition of Hungama TV, and the investment in UTV will significantly advance our presence in India and allow us to develop a strategic relationship with one of the country’s leading integrated media companies,” said Andy Bird, President, Walt Disney International.
“Not only will we be acquiring a great channel asset, The Walt Disney Company will also be able to participate in UTV’s diversified media businesses and bring to UTV our global media and synergy expertise, including developing and distributing high quality family friendly content in nearly 200 countries worldwide and expanding related franchises across film, television, music, merchandise, new media and live entertainment,” added Mr. Bird.
“Television is and will continue to be the major growth engine in building franchise affinity in India. Integrating Hungama TV into The Walt Disney Company’s existing India channel portfolio of Disney Channel, and Toon Disney/Jetix, will allow Disney to fortify its already strong presence in India’s children’s television market,” said Rich Ross President, Disney Channel Worldwide.
“Disney’s global portfolio of kids’ channels seeks to strengthen connections with kids and families in India and each market we’re in by developing local creative content that represents and reflects the lives of kids there, said Ross.
“Hungama TV has proven its appeal to Indian children and families with compelling entertainment choices and has in a brief period built a strong management team and staked out a leadership position in the competitive children’s television environment,” said Ronnie Screwvala, Chairman & CEO, UTV Software Communications Limited. “We are also delighted that Disney has chosen to make a strategic investment in UTV which will augment our business in India and around the world.” he added.
Zarina Mehta, currently Chief Operating Officer of Hungama TV, will work with the Disney team on the organizational and operational integration of Hungama TV into Disney’s portfolio of kids’ channels. Launched in September 2004, Hungama is a 24-hour Hindi-language entertainment cable channel for children and is consistently one of the top-rated channels in India’s children’s market.
Disney currently reaches over 107 million television homes in India through a program block on the terrestrial network and Disney Channel and Toon Disney/Jetix reached approximately 30 million homes on cable and satellite in India and together rank number two in the market. Toon Disney is number one in South India.
UTV has a diversified set of businesses, which includes television and film production and distribution, animation production, and other services.
About The Walt Disney Company:
The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with four business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment and consumer products. Disney is a Dow 30 company, had annual revenues of nearly $32 billion in its most recent fiscal year, and a market capitalization of more than $62 billion as of July 14, 2006.
About Disney Channel
Disney Channel offers an unparalleled blend of quality Disney entertainment and distinctive, originally produced programmes that kids love and families trust and enjoy including Disney’s movies and series, sitcoms, family dramas and live action adventure stories. The channel’s multi-genre programming is designed to serve India’s preschool, kids and family viewers
About Toon Disney in India
Toon Disney, a 24-hour basic cable channel geared towards kids age 2-11 with a core of kids age 6-9, showcases a variety of Disney’s classic and contemporary animated series and movies plus the fantastical action/adventure programming under the Jetix brand. India’s Toon Disney programming is available in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and English.
About Hungama TV:
Hungama TV is India’s first made in India 24-hour entertainment channel for kids, with localized content, in India’s national language, Hindi. Positioned as a general entertainment channel targeted at kids between the age group of 4 -14 years Hungama TV has multi genre programming like drama, action, game shows besides animation to appeal to all sub segments. Hungama TV’s core philosophy is to provide entertainment where kids are part of the programming and marketing initiative making it a channel for, of and by the kids. With UHE (United Home Entertainment – a separate company floated by Ronnie Screwvala and UTV) as its holding company. More information on Hungama TV log on to www.hungamatv.com
About UTV Software Communications Ltd.:
Incorporated in 1990, UTV has today emerged as one of India’s leading and most respected integrated media and entertainment companies. Listed on the Indian Stock Exchange, it has grown from a Television Production house, into an integrated media company with leadership position in Television, Motion Pictures and Broadcasting – through its kids channel – Hungama TV. UTV has established its presence with offices across Asia, UK and USA and is known as a brand for creative and execution excellence.
About the Acquisition:
The Walt Disney Company has announced an agreement to acquire 100% of Hungama, a leading Indian children’s cable television channel, and purchase a minority equity stake in UTV Software Communications Ltd., a listed, diversified Indian media company that owns Hungama. Both transactions are subject to certain conditions and regulatory approval.