Media Giants in India Join to Launch English Daily in New Delhi

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A leading Indian media company yesterday announced a joint venture with its main rival to launch a new English-language daily newspaper for the 20 million people living in and around New Delhi.

After decades of rivalry, New Delhi-based HT Media Ltd., which publishes the daily Hindustan Times, said it has reached an understanding with Mumbai-based The Times of India Group to form a 50-50 joint venture to publish a “new and vibrant newspaper” for the country’s capital.

It wasn’t immediately clear what brought the two companies together. The announcement comes amid a boom in the media industry — revenues have been growing more than 20 per cent annually — that also has made it increasingly fragmented.

Also, Western media companies are looking for opportunities in India and hoping the country will ease restrictions on foreign investment in the news business.

“We believe that the new paper will give advertisers an opportunity to engage the reader on an unprecedented level,” said HT Media’s vice-chairwoman, Shobhana Bhartia.

The joint venture will function as a standalone entity, independent of current businesses, the company said in a notice to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

“The joint venture will draw strength from the competencies of both groups, allowing them to work together to efficiently grow [in] an exciting and nascent market,” the statement said.

Besides the Hindustan Times, an English-language daily, HT Media also publishes the Hindustan, a Hindi-language daily. It will soon launch FM radio stations and an English-language business daily newspaper, the statement said.

The Times Group, the country’s largest media house, has interests in newspaper, magazine, radio, Internet, music, television and film businesses. Representatives of The Times Group weren’t immediately available for comment.

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