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Sony Pictures buys Channel 8 for Rs 60 cr

Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) has acquired Channel 8, the only Bengali language film channel in India. The channel will be under the management of SPTI's international networks group and marks SPTI's entry into the Bengal region. The announcement was made today by Andy Kaplan, president, international networks, SPTI.

It maybe noted exclusively reported on January 28, 2009, that Sony Pictures Entertainment has zeroed in on buying Bangla Entertainment, which runs a Bengali TV channel called Channel 8 Talkies, for about Rs 60 crore.

The deal will help the Japanese electronics and entertainment firm Sony to compete with the likes of Star India and Zee Entertainment in Indian regional entertainment space, said earlier.

"The international networks group is continuously looking for new opportunities to expand, whether it's through acquisition or via the launch of an entirely new channel," said Kaplan in an media statement.

Kaplan continues, "We're excited by the prospects of Channel 8 and the revenue potential for us in the Bengal region. We look forward to providing even more high-quality Bengali-language programming in the region."

For this buy-out, SPE had sought clearance from Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), the nodal body for clearing foreign investment in India, for acquiring the stake. As per Indian regulations, 100 per cent FDI is permitted in non-news TV channels.

Channel 8 was launched in March 2008 and is based in Kolkata. It has licensed an extensive library of Bengali films and telefilms and is already among the top channels in the Bengal region of India. It originally started as a free-to-air service and will be converted to pay shortly.

SPE and its entities currently own 62 per cent in Multi Screen Media (MSM) India, which was earlier known as Sony Entertainment Television India. This company operates channels like SET India, Pix, AXN and Sab TV among others.

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