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Zodiak moves into Asia

Acquisitive Scandi-based producer and distributor Zodiak Television has made its first Asian deal and taken a 35% stake in Indian indie producer Sol. Zodiak CEO Patrick Svensk told TBIvision that Sol is already developing two Zodiak formats for the Indian market.

Sol was launched by Kamna Nirula Menezes and Fazila Allana, both former producers at Indian media company UTV, in 2003. It specializes in non-fiction programming and its roster of shows includes Star’s Koffee with Karan.

It has also been commissioned to make two reality shows for NDTV’s soon-to-launch network, NDTV Imagine. The first, Nach Le Ve with Saroj Khan, will follow Bollywood choreographer Khan as he teaches Indians how to dance. The Second, Dhoom Macha De will be a televised competition to find India’s best singer.

Zodiak will distribute all of Sol’s formats internationally and said it would ultimately like to increase its stake in the company. Financial details were not broken out but the turnover of the Indian company is understood to be modest – in single-digit millions of Euros – although Svensk cited its enormous growth potential.

Svensk said. "The Indian economy is booming and we’re now seeing a much more structured TV market. There are over seventy new channels launching this year, fifteen of those are general entertainment and  will be programmed 100% locally. They are craving formats."

Zodiak has been an active acquirer of production companies in recent times. It now has bought into producers including Diverse in the UK, TeleAlliance in Russia, Yellow Bird in Denmark and Zebra in Poland. Svensk said the company would ilike a greater presence in the US and Latin American markets.