AOL and Sony Discuss Indian TV Mega-Deal

05 July 2001

India, one of Asia’s largest TV markets, could be due for a major shake-up if current discussions between Sony Corporation and AOL Time Warner reach fruition.

The global giants are mulling the merger of their respective Indian TV channels, although insiders say there are thorny problems to be resolved – who calls the shots on financial and management issues – before a deal is struck.

A done deal would pose an unwelcome threat to the duo’s principal rivals on the sub-continent, Rupert Murdoch’s STAR TV and Indian-owned Zee Telefilms. The former claims to be unfazed by the commination; the latter’s lips were zipped.

Sony Entertainment Television is India’s second-most popular general entertainment cable channel. The broadcaster also owns all-action cable channel AXN and Sony Max, a sports and Hindi-movie channel. AOL TW would bring to the party its CNN, Cartoon Network and HBO movie channels.

Sony and AOL already have strong links, among them the Japanese giant’s Columbia TriStar film studio, a partner with AOL in HBO outside the US.

News source: Wall Street Journal