NEW DELHI: US media giant NBC Universal has made its first foray into the burgeoning Indian market with the acquisition of a 26% stake in cable channel provider New Delhi Television.

The $150 million deal (€102.8m; £76.6m) is part of NBC ceo Jeff Zucker's (pictured) strategy to double international revenues within three years. To this end the agreement allows NBC to buy up to 50% of NDTV Networks in 2010.

The broadcaster offers a number of Hindi lifestyle and entertainment channels to the increasingly affluent Indian middle-classes.

Enthuses Zucker: "This will be a significant investment in an important emerging market and further illustrates our commitment to expand internationally, particularly in high-growth areas.

"The Indian TV market is growing at 16% annually, which provides huge opportunities now and into the future."

Adds NDTV ceo Vikram Chandra: "This partnership with one of the world's most respected media companies will strengthen our position as a dominant force in Indian media and entertainment."

NBC had mulled expansion in China but strict media ownership regulations there persuaded it that India has more potential.

The subcontinent is currently the world's third-largest cable TV market and is forecast to be Asia's most lucrative pay-TV market within the next decade.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online and the Hollywood Reporter; additional content by WARC staff