Following Scrips Networks Interactive‘s recent buy of 65% stake in Travel Channel from Cox Communications for $181 million in cash, the US-based media group has sealed a similar deal in India by buying a majority stake (69%) in NDTV’s fashion and aspirational channel NDTV Lifestyle (Good Times) for $55 million.
In September, NDTV began talks with Scripps to acquire NDTV Lifestyle, which is run by a UK based subsidiary of the group NDTV Networks Plc and co-branded with the UB Group, and the acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter 2010. We are curious if there would be a brand change with the entry of Scripps as a majority owner. We attempted to contact NDTV Networks CEO Vikram Chandra, but were unable to reach him. Chandra didn’t say much to ContentSutra about the deal, except that a part of the money from Scripps will be used to will be used to pay holders of bonds that the company bought back for $72.4 million.
Scripps’ Channels, Expansion
Scripps’ media portfolio includes TV and Internet brands such as HGTV, Food Network , DIY Network, Fine Living Network and Great American Country. It also offers interactive search and comparison shopping services in association with BizRate and Shopzilla.
This acquisition follows a series of announcements to expand its distribution into Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia in preparation for the January 2010 launch plans for its Food Network channel. Food Network’s top programs are The Next Food Network Star, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, Chopped and Iron Chef America. Food Network will launch in UK in the fourth quarter of this year. Scripps has also entered into a joint venture with London based Chello Zone, which is the international channel arm of Chellomedia, Liberty Global Inc’s content subsidiary.
NDTV Good Times, New Launches
The broadcaster reported a 9.13% YoY fall in net losses to Rs. 118.5 million in the quarter ended September 2009. It launched five new shows on Good Times in the quarter – Custom-made for Vir Sanghvi, Made in India, Warrior Tribes of Nagaland, The Underground and Men can’t dance. NDTV Good Times was launched in Singapore on SingTel’s IPTV network and on DirecTV, USA’s largest DTH network earlier this year.
Now, NDTV and Scripps are planning the launches of other lifestyle television channels.