The Rs 75,000-crore Tata group today announced its foray into the media and entertainment sector through a strategic tie-up between group company Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) and the Paris-based Thomson group. The joint venture would explore new opportunities in managing and delivering content for third parties, including broadcasters and content providers, aiming to offer leading edge solutions to VSNL's media and entertainment customers, a joint media statement said.
Thomson and Tata Indicom, the group's telecom arm, would develop media and entertainment activities through a strategic agreement with VSNL, it added. Industry analysts found the announcement significant, coming close on the heels of Reliance Capital's plan to acquire Adlabs, a leading entertainment player. Post acquisition of Adlabs, Anil Ambani, chief of Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Enterprises, wants Reliance Infocomm to enter into digital film distribution in a big way.
Thomson and VSNL plan to explore development of end-to-end solutions for network operators, such as optimised satellite transmission as well as content management and distribution solutions like digital cinema. In a media statement, N Srinath, director (operations), VSNL said: "The agreement with Thomson will enable us to offer an unmatched suite of leading edge solutions and services on diverse technology platforms to media and entertainment enterprises, resulting in a superior experience for the end consumer".
"Our partnership with Tata/VSNL brings exciting opportunities for Thomson and expands our presence in India, a market of strategic importance to us," said Frank Dangeard, Chairman & CEO of Thomson. This is the second association of Indian companies by Thomson, a worldwide producer of products for motion picture studios, television broadcast networks, DVD players, MP3 products and audio systems, in a fortnight. It had announced that it would pick up a 14 per cent stake in Videocon Industries early this month.