ATLANTA: Turner Broadcasting System, a unit of US media giant Time Warner, will launch a Hindi-language channel in India next year, a decision "driven by the opportunity of scale that India represents," says Asia-Pacific ceo, Steve Marcopoto.

The new channel will be a 50-50 joint venture with local entertainment network and production house Alva Brothers

Marcopoto argues the broadcast environment in India is at an "extraordinarily competitive moment", with many major US operators seeking to make in-roads in the country.

Viacom launched its own channel, Colors, in India four months ago alongside local partner Network 18 Group.

It is thought to have spent $25 million (€19m; £15m) on marketing and carriage costs so far, but research firm Media Partners Asia says annual ad revenues for the channel could reach $50m by March 2009. 

Earlier this year, NBC Universal paid $150m for a 26% stake in Indian broadcast group NDTV, while Sony and Disney have both also sought to build a broadcasting presence in the country. 

NewsCorp's Star Plus has long been India's biggest channel in terms of ratings, and made an estimated $375m in advertising revenues, for the year to June, and a profit of $90m, says Media Partners Asia.

Estimates from WPP's media buying arm GroupM suggest India's television advertising market will grow in value by 17% next year, to a net worth of some $2.3 billion.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal; additional content by WARC staff