Turner to shut 'Imagine TV' in India

MUMBAI Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:10am IST

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MUMBAI (Reuters) - U.S.-based Turner Broadcasting System Inc, a Time Warner company, has decided to shut its Hindi general entertainment channel 'Imagine TV' in India as poor ratings hampered any further investment in it, a senior company official said.

Turner had bought a majority stake in the channel from Indian broadcaster NDTV in 2009 for $117 million.

The channel's India and international feed 'Imagine Dil Se', which will be shut with effect from today, failed to achieve consistency in ratings, Siddharth Jain, managing director, South Asia, Turner International India told Reuters on Thursday.

"Imagine TV has not performed and grown as per our expectations," he said.

Imagine was Turner's second attempt in the highly competitive general entertainment (GEC) space in India after its GEC Real, a joint venture with Miditech, failed.

Turner currently operates channels such as HBO, CNN, Cartoon Network, POGO, WB in India.

The company, however, remains committed to long-term investment in India and will continue to look for investment opportunities in the country, Jain said.

Turner India has been growing at a compunded annual rate of 13 percent in the past five years, the company had earlier told Reuters.

The Indian media industry relies heavily on advertising revenues instead of subscriptions for survival.

Global macroeconomic woes and a slowing Indian economy have left most media companies susceptible to volatility in advertising rates and resulted in cash flow problems.

In 2011, the Indian media & entertainment industry registered a growth of 12 percent from a year ago, to reach 728 billion rupees, according to KPMG.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose and Anurag Kotoky; Editing by Subhadip Sircar)

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