CA Media to invest in companies, build brands

27 Apr,2012

By Shruti Pushkarna


It’s been a little over a year since Rajesh Kamat surprised the Indian media to leave Viacom 18 where he was flying high as COO having successfully launched Colors as CEO. Mr Kamat, who had earlier also been Chief Executive at Endemol India, joined the Asian investment arm of The Chernin Group (TCG), CA Media. Yesterday, Mr Kamat announced CA’s investment in two Indian companies, Endemol India and Only Much Louder.


Speaking to MxMIndia, Mr Kamat added, “What we are trying to build is a portfolio of assets and each of these will come in with its own uniqueness. You will see us not only invest in different companies but also build different brands in companies. So it’s going to be a diversified media property which has pretty much all kinds of assets under it. Therefore, on one hand we have an investment in Endemol which is a traditional content hub, on the other end we are investing in a nascent pocket of music overlapping with youth, I see that as investing in the youth power. I think that’s the unique combination we found in a Vijay from OML in the music and youth space and on the other end, Endemol, the conventional traditional content business.”


CA Media has acquired a 49 percent stake in the Mumbai-based Endemol India, an independent content production house. The objective is to build Endemol India into a leading and most valuable content production company in India across television, film and digital content.


Founded in 2006, Endemol India has grown to be one of India’s largest producers of entertainment television. The company is known for its successful shows including “Bigg Boss” (India’s version of “Big Brother” which has had 5 Seasons to date) and “Fear Factor” (4 Seasons) for Colors. Other hit programming includes talent shows “Laughter Challenge” (4 seasons) and “Jo Jeeta Wohi Super Star” (2 seasons) for Star Plus, and over 400 episodes of “Deal or No Deal” and the recently launched “The Money Drop” for Sun Network.


Also read…
Two investments done. Many to come!
That Rajesh Kamat was 1st CEO of Endemol is not a coincidence: Deepak Dhar
We’re looking at strategic inputs from CA Media, Zodius: Vijay Nair

Deepak Dhar who has been Managing Director of Endemol India since 2007 will continue to lead the company as CEO. Commenting on the choice of CA Media as the investor, Deepak Dhar told MxM India, “We entered into this, largely from a strategic point of view…we had ambitions to go in the film business, and when we started talking to CA Media, they had strategic insights into the business. So this is more of a strategic investment than a financial one.”


Key strategic priorities for Endemol India include establishing a strong presence in the Indian film sector as well as expansion in scripted and regional television, areas in which Endemol India is already active. CA Media’s backing provides Endemol India with extensive operational experience from its principals and the required financial resources for executing the ambitious growth strategy. At the same time Endemol India will continue to produce and exploit Endemol’s global portfolio of formats and IP. International distribution of all content developed by the operation will be handled by Endemol.


The Chernin Group Chairman and CEO Peter Chernin commented via a communique: “India is a critical investment market for CA Media and we’re pleased to partner with Endemol to work together to further leverage the growth in the Indian media and entertainment space. We believe that Endemol India is poised to capitalize on the expected explosive growth across all platforms in this industry.”


“India represents a significant opportunity for Endemol and our collaboration with CA Media strongly positions us to become the region’s largest content producer,” added Endemol Group CEO Just Spee.


Rajesh Kamat

Commenting on the acquisition, Mr Kamat said, “Our new partnership with Endemol fits in well with our plans of creating a diversified portfolio of assets in the media and entertainment space, with Endemol India being at the epicenter.”


This alliance between CA Media and Endemol has reunited Mr Kamat with Endemol given that he was responsible for setting up Endemol’s operations in India. Mr Kamat told MxM India that he has a lot of faith in Endemol and he enjoys an excellent equation with them. “What happens is that if you’ve had an association with them since inception, then you know the roots of the company,” he said. “I have enjoyed an equation with them in form of having set that company up, and then, as partners at Colors and now as investor in the company… I am enjoying all of them.”


CA Media has also picked up an undisclosed stake in Only Much Louder (OML), a music, live events and youth media company, along with Zodius, an investor and operator of digital media, commerce and services.  OML operates at the intersection of three key elements – alternative culture, youth and brands. It focuses on reaching the youth market in India through high quality entertainment properties including music festivals, television and web-based content.


OML started as an artist management firm in 2002 and has now expanded its operations to include a large-format music festivals division, a full-fledged production house, a digital wing and an expansive artist management and bookings enterprise. OML works with various brands in the country in conceptualizing and executing their marketing and branding strategies aimed at the youth segment.


Deepak Dhar

On this investment, CA Media CEO Paul Aiello said, “Our investment in OML represents one end of the spectrum of our investment plans in India – that of identifying and backing talented people in virgin domains, with sustainable as well as scalable business models. OML is in an exciting domain and we foresee great potential ahead.”


Added Mr Kamat, “It’s a youth activator brand, it’s a company which does college festivals…we are investing in youth power, so they are a company which focuses on youth. They use music as a vehicle and we believe it’s a great company to get into because alternate music and music is growing as a pocket, and if you have a captive youth which in India more than 65 percent is less than 35 years of age, then it can’t get better. And we have a great promoter in Vijay.”


Through this investment and management support, CA Media and Zodius plan to assist OML in scaling up its operations, to achieve true scale, over the next few years.


Vijay Nair

Speaking to MxM India about the objectives of this alliance, Founder and CEO of OML India, Vijay Nair said, “Building a stronger team is the primary objective of this. And secondly, scaling some of the things that we’ve been already working on. Thirdly, a specific reason for working with CA Media and Zodius is to focus a lot more on the digital and television part of it as opposed to our focus which has just been live events so far. So we want to take it to multiple platforms.”


Mr Kamat clarified that CA Media’s role in the alliance will be strategic in nature and all operational control will rest with the promoters, Dheeraj Dhar in case of Endemol and Vijay Nair in the case of OML.


CA Media was formed in November 2010 by Mr Peter Chernin, former News Corp President and COO and former Star TV Asia CEO Mr Paul Aiello. The company appointed former Colors CEO and Viacom18 COO Rajesh Kamat as its India CEO last year. CA Media, which is majority owned by The Chernin Group, invests in media, entertainment and technology businesses across Asia with a primary focus on India, Indonesia and China.


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