Turner to launch new TV channel, animation film unit in India

Turner International India, a division of Time Warner, is planning to set up a "multi-million dollar unit" to make animation films in India and also launch a new television channel to expand its entertainment business in the country.

Turner will aim to make two animation films a year, with the first releasing in 2009, the new TV channel, in collaboration with Warner Bros, will broadcast Hollywood movies and television series.

Turner recently set up a joint venture with Alva Brothers,  holding company of Indian production firm Miditech Pvt Ltd, to launch a Hindi entertainment channel and other regional language channels. Turner, which holds a 29 per cent stake in Miditech, is looking for more partnerships and acquisition opportunities in the fast-growing market.

"India is one of the highest priority markets for us worldwide and the highest priority market in Asia," said, Steve Marcopoto, president of Turner Broadcasting System in Asia Pacific.

"It becomes the biggest market in the region this year, surpassing Japan, and we are committed to growing our presence."

India accounts for almost 30 per cent of Turner's revenue in the Asia Pacific region, according to Marcopoto. International business makes up a fifth of total revenue, he said, and is set to grow.

Currently, Turner's Indian operations comprise kids channels such as Cartoon Network and Pogo, movie channel HBO as well as CNN-IBN news channel in a venture with Global Broadcast News Ltd, a TV18 group company. the company also has a distribution partnership with Zee Entertainment Enterprises.