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Indian and Malaysian Studios to Launch Two Kids Channels

UTV Software Communications Ltd. of India has announced a joint venture with the Malaysia-based Astro, a DTH and pay TV operator, to create two new channels in the region, reports the BUSINESS STANDARD. UTV will handle the content, marketing and brand building with the capital investment coming entirely from Astro. UTV will receive nearly $1 million a year as well as an option to invest up to 20% equity in the channel at par over three years.

The kids space is important to us and strategically this move made sense to us, Ronnie Screwvala, ceo of UTV, said. The channels would be targeted at the 4-14 year age group and will be in the Bahasa Malay and Bahasa Indonesia languages.

These channels will be on the ASTRO DTH platform beginning with Malaysia by March 2006 before moving on to Indonesia and Brunei, ending with Singapore. The first channel to commence will be in Bahasa Malay and will air 400-500 hours of local programming annually. The new channels will be a mix of live-action and animation, focusing on edutainment and Asian cultural values.

In India, UTV operates Hungama TV, a successful kids channel.