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Sony India: Bengali Channel Buy; More Churn After Kunal Dasgupta’s Exit

Update: Vijay Koshy, head of sales at Sony’s English movie channel Pix, has also tendered his resignation. [via Business Line]

Sony is caught in a flurry of activity in India with an acquisition on onsony_logo1e hand and senior executives resigning in the aftermath of Kunal Dasgupta’s exit. What’s going on?

Channel 8 Buy

Sony Pictures Television International has forayed into regional TV with the buy of Channel 8, a Bengali movie channel  for an undisclosed amount. Channel 8 will be part of SPTI’s portfolio in India, joining English channels AXN and Animax. Sony’s Multi Screen Media (MSM)already offers Hindi channels SET Max, Sab and Pix, an English movie channel. Launched in March 2008, Channel 8 has a library of Bengali films and telefilms and is viewed in West Bengal, Tripuram Assam and Orissa. The free-to-air service will be converted to pay shortly. [via release]

Churn Time At MSM

After Kunal Dasgupta, who quit as the CEO of MSM after a 14-year-long stint only two weeks ago, the companys Business Head Albert Almeida has put in his papers. More at Exchange4Media. They’re apparently seeing a sudden storm of exits – the total number could be a whopping 60, according to ET. And this is just phase one. The second phase is expected after the Indian Premier League.  Sony is said to be taking stock of its Indian ventures; the moves are part of a cost rationalisation  exercise and executives not critical to its management are being shown the door.

The Spice-Sony Saga

Sony’s Indian shareholders have, over the past year, had reason to feel weary. BK Modi was looking to buy 32 percent stake in MSM, but the $320 million deal did not go through. Investors in MSM include Atlas Equifin and Grandway Global Holdings who hold around 31.67 percent stake, Shemaroo Entertainment MD Raman Maroo, World Media Group director Sudesh Iyer, MobiApps Holding’s Jayesh Paresh and actor Jackie Shroff. They have been looking for an exit for several years, ET said.


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