UTV Software Communications
|Founded||22 June 1990|
|Ronnie Screwvala (MD), Siddharth Roy Kapur (CEO)|
|Products||Films, televisions, games, websites broadcasting, media, entertainment, gaming, animation|
|Owner||The Walt Disney Company|
|Parent||The Walt Disney Company India Pvt. Ltd.|
UTV started off as United Television Software Communications Pvt. Ltd. on 22 June 1990. The company later went public and was renamed UTV Software Communications Ltd. in 1998.
The UTV Group was incorporated as 'United Television Software Communications Private limited' on 22 June 1990; under the Companies Act, 1956 as a Private Limited Company. Subsequently, it became a deemed Public Limited Company and the word Private was deleted on 27 November 1995. It was renamed 'UTV Software Communications Limited' with effect from 19 March 1998.
At the time of incorporation, the group was primarily engaged in the production of television content for Doordarshan- Prasar Bharti and also production of ad films. In 1992, with the entry of satellite TV, ZEE TV commissioned the group for producing content of around 250 hours wherein it became one of the largest content providers. Around the same time, it also expanded into the businesses of in-flight entertainment programming and dubbing. In 1993, it ventured into the business of acquiring programs from outside producers and marketing airtime on their programs. In 1995, it launched a daily soap titled 'Shanti.'
In May 1995, it acquired 54.60% stake in Laezer Production Private Limited to enter into the area of post-production. Laezer Production Private Limited was incorporated on 29 January 1982. On becoming a deemed Public Limited Company, the word 'Private' was deleted on 27 November 1995. Subsequent to the acquisition of 54.60% stake by the UTV Group, Laezer Production Limited was renamed as UTV Studios Limited in December 1995. At that point of time United Studios Limited (USL) was engaged in the business of providing post-production facilities to television software houses, private producers and advertisers.
In 1996, Disney contracted the UTV Group to dub its library into Indian languages. In 1996, the company’s In-flight Entertainment division, which was catering to Air India only, started catering to other international airlines.
In 1998, the company's subsidiary USL took over Ram Mohan Biographies, an animation production house pioneered by Mr. Ram Mohan, one of the leading animation artistes in the country. The animation division in USL was called RM-USL and thereafter was rechristened as UTV Toons and remained as a division of USL.
The company then diversified into broadcasting, by acquiring a controlling interest in Vijay Television Limited in November 1998. Vijay Television was incorporated on 30 May 1996 and operated Vijay TV, a 24-hour Tamil-language channel out of Chennai. The Udayar family of Chennai initially controlled Vijay Television as GEC channel since 1992. In 1995, United Breweries Group acquired the operational control of the channel and the name was changed to Vijay TV. The UTV Group acquired the controlling interest from United Breweries Group.
In 1995-96, the company ventured into the movie distribution business.
In 2000, it incorporated a group company called UTV Net Solutions Ltd., in which it held an 86% stake. UTVNet was in the business of Internet content creation and aggregation, Indian regional language portals (with dual language content) and leveraging of their audio/video library rights for Internet usage. In 2000, UTVNet started the business of broadband content aggregation under the brand name sharkstream.com, through its subsidiary Sharkstream.com Pte. Ltd., Singapore.
In 2002-03, the group acquired the studio business of Western Outdoor Media Technologies Limited (WOMTL) to attain leadership position in the Post-Production, Special Effects and Animation business. The Studio operations of WOMTL were thus merged with the group’s post-production business.
Since 2000-01, the UTV Group has initiated a corporate restructuring exercise to consolidate their holdings in certain group companies and subsidiaries. The objective of these exercises was to maximize shareholder value, remove conflict of interest and build a powerful combined entity.
In October 2005 after a $10 million outsourcing partnership with US-based BKN New Media Inc., UTV Toons moved to expand to 200 employees and purchased additional Autodesk 3ds Max 8 software licenses.
Between 2007 and 2011, UTV was targeted for acquisition by studios in the USA and the UK. Fuse Global, global media fund had approached and made several attempts to play a role in becoming a financier to the studio, but it never materialised for Asian media billionaire Keyur Patel who has also done similar large format deals in USA.
Acquisition by Disney
Subsequent to the buyout by The Walt Disney Company (South East Asia) Pte Ltd, a promoter group firm, the company will be delisted from both the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange. "The delisting proposal entails an offer to acquire all outstanding equity shares held by public shareholders in the company," UTV said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.Currently, Disney was the majority shareholder in UTV Software Communications at the time, with 20,497,994 equity shares, accounting for 50.44 per cent stake. The company's board of directors approved the delisting offer and acquiring shares from public at a price not exceeding Rs 1,000 per equity share, it said.
The UTV Group’s relationships include those with:
- The Walt Disney Company (South East Asia) Pte. Ltd. which owns UTV India.
- Fox Group and Fox Searchlight were movie co-producers for ‘The Namesake’, ‘I Think I Love My Wife’ and ‘The Happening’ with UTV Mauritius and USA.
- UTV has Talent Relations with Mira Nair, M. Night Shyamalan, Iranian film director Majid Majdi, Ramgopal Verma, Vishal Bhardwaj, Ashutosh Gowarikar, Ken Ghosh, Rensil D’Silva, David Dhawan and John Owen after having past associations with directors Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Anurag Kashyap, Shyam Benegal and Aamir Khan to name a few.
- UTV is associated with Verizon, Vodafone and AirTel and over 80 telecom companies worldwide for Mobile game publishing, new media and online gaming.
- UTV is associated with Coca-Cola, PepsiCo/Pepsi, Hero MotoCorp, Honda Motor Company, Hindustan Unilever, P&G, Cadbury, Airtel, Reckitt Benckiser, Godrej, Johnson & Johnson – for sponsorship and branding relationships across various TV channels and content titles.
- It has a partnership with Virgin Comics to create original superhero franchises across platforms.
- It works with Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. in the console gaming business.
- UTV has relationships for television content with Star India, Zee Entertainment Enterprises, National Geographic Channel, Sun TV.
As a part of the consolidation plan, during 2000-01, it augmented its share capital by swap of shares from Shareholders of group companies. And as of 31 March 2009, the company has the following subsidiaries/joint ventures:
UTV Motion Pictures (UMP) PLC
The company was incorporated on 27 March 2007. On 2 July 2007 UMP Plc shares were admitted to trading on Alternate Investment Market (“AIM") of the London Stock Exchange.
UTV Software Communications Ltd. holds 76.82% of controlling stake of UMP Plc which in turn holds 99.75% controlling stake in UTV Motion Pictures (Mauritius) Limited and balance 0.25% is held directly by UTV Software Communications Ltd.
IG Interactive Entertainment Limited (IG)
IG was incorporated on 6 September 2004 with an intention to carry out Film Acquisition, Syndication and Distribution business in the United Kingdom.
UTV Communications (USA) LLC (UTV USA)
UTV US was incorporated on 26 April 2004 with an intention to carry out film acquisition, syndication and distribution business in the United State of America (North America) and other surrounding territories.
UTV TV Content Limited (UTV TV)
UTV TV a 100% subsidiary of UTV Software Communications Ltd. It was incorporated on 9 July 2007 to carry on the business of producing, exhibiting and distribution of television serials/programmes for television. RB Entertainment Limited (“RBEL"), a 60:40 joint venture between UTV TV and Mr. Rajesh Beri, was incorporated on 6 May 2008 with intent of producing content for television channels.
First Future Agri and Developers Limited (FFADL)
The company was incorporated on 7 April 2008 as First Future Agri and Developers Private Limited Company. On 11 June 2008, UTV Software Communications Ltd. acquired 100% equity stake in FFADL for a consideration of Rs. 0.10 million, thereby making it a wholly owned subsidiary of UTV Software Communications Ltd. On 25 March 2009 FFADL further allotted 15.99 million equity shares at par to UTV Software Communications Ltd. The status of FFADL was changed from a private limited company to public limited company on 29 April 2009.
UTV Global Broadcasting Limited (UGBL)
UGBL was incorporated on 6 June 2007 with an intention to carry on the business of broadcasting of satellite television channels in India. On 8 August 2008 UTV Software Communications Ltd. acquired 75% equity stake in equity shares of UGBL. UGBL is a parent company for its two wholly owned subsidiaries, Genx Entertainment Limited (Genx) and UTV Entertainment Entertainment Limited (UETL). Genx and UETL are engaged in the business of up linking and broadcasting entertainment (non-news/current affairs) channels from India.
On 30 September 2009 UTV Software Communications Ltd. acquired additional 10% equity stake in UGBL from Unilazer Exports and Management Consultants Limited (“Unilazer") for a total consideration of the total stake of the company in UGBL increased to 85%.
UTV Games Limited (UTV Games)
UTV Games Limited is a 100% subsidiary of UTV Software Communications Ltd. and was incorporated on 5 September 2008 to carry on the principal activity as of investment holding. On 10 September 2008 UTV Games Limited acquired 80% equity stake in True Games Interactive Inc, (True Games) an online gaming start-up Company based in California, USA, thereby making True Games a downstream subsidiary of the Company.
UTV New Media Limited (UNML)
UNML a 100% subsidiary of UTV Software Communications Ltd. and was incorporated on 20 September 2007 to carry on the business of developing and maintaining websites and acquisition and exploitation of digital rights on mobile and digital platforms.
Smriti Irani Television Limited (SITL)
Smriti Irani Television Limited is a 50:50 Joint Venture between UTV Software Communications Ltd. and Mrs. Smriti Irani. SITL was incorporated on 6 December 2007 to house the joint venture with Mrs. Smriti Irani for television content production.
UTV was listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the Indian National Stock Exchange, and its motion picture division UTV Motion Pictures Plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market (AIM).
In August 2006, The Walt Disney Company acquired a 14.85 percent stake in UTV. This was subsequently hiked to 32.1 percent in 2008, the same level as UTV's founders Ronnie Screwvala and his associates. The remaining shares were publicly traded.
Disney went on to increase its ownership in UTV to 100%, making it a wholly owned subsidiary.
UTV started off producing television content for Indian public broadcaster Doordarshan in 1990. They were also into ad film making.
In 1995, UTV produced India's first daily soap opera, Shanti, for Doordarshan. UTV was also contracted by Disney to dub its cartoons in Hindi. Revenues from the television segment increased by 31% from Rs. 1,006 million in the previous year to Rs. 1,317 million during the year primarily due to the growth in the scale of operations of the television business. The segment reported a profit of Rs. 54 million as compared to Rs. 180 million in the previous year.
Following is the complete list of TV programmes produced by UTV:
Film production and distribution
UTV ventured into film distribution in 1996 with its subsidiary UTV Motion Pictures Plc. It then moved into film production, first in Bollywood and then in Hollywood in partnership with studios like 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney Pictures and Sony Pictures. It is today one of the largest production houses in South Asia.
UTV’s portfolio includes Hindi Movies, Regional Movies, Animation Films, International productions and co productions, besides an exclusive distribution arrangement for India with The Walt Disney Company.
UTV co-produced two Hollywood movies with Fox Searchlight in 2007, making it the first and only Indian company to have mainline Hollywood film releases – the box office hit and critically acclaimed masterpiece by Mira Nair, "The Namesake;” and "I Think I Love My Wife,” with Chris Rock in the lead role and as Director.
Pioneering the stint of producing movies abroad, UTV was the first Indian production house to announce its independent production venture globally in April 2009, with "The Exterminators." It also has a co-production agreement with the actor/producer Will Smith, his production company Overbrook Entertainment and with Sony Pictures Entertainment, for two films to be produced and distributed worldwide.
In 2008-2009, UTV Motion Pictures emerged as one of the largest production houses in the country with 10 Hindi film releases, one in Tamil and M. Night Shyamalan's "The Happening" – the first mainstream Hollywood movie co-produced by an Indian movie studio. UTV also distributed Disney's productions – "Confessions of a Shopaholic" and "Bedtime Stories" in India.
An unparalleled slate that started in 2009 will see even more content driven movies in 2010 – the slate will boast of movies in genres from romance to action and from thriller to comedy such as Prakash Jha’s "Rajneeti,” Deven Khote’s "Phillum City,” Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s "Guzaarish" and Aamir Khan’s production "Delhi Belly" and "The Falling."
Along with production, UTV distributes its movies in more than 45 countries around the world on the same day as their theatrical release in India. UTV Motion Pictures is among the Top 20 Distributors in North America and is the first Indian film studio ever to have crossed the US$5 million revenue mark in the first half of a year, thus redefining the scope of overseas distribution of Indian films.
In the south, post their successful maiden venture – "Kanaamochi Yenada" in Tamil, UTV Motion Pictures forayed into another project with Priyadarshan as a co-producer for the remake of "Khosla Ka Ghosla" called "Poi Solla Porom." This proved successful, completing 100 days in theatre. UTV Motion Pictures went on to co-produce the remakes of the superhit "A Wednesday!” – "Unnaipol Oruvan" (Tamil) and "Eenadu" (Telugu) by joining hands with Actor Kamal Haasan.
UTV forayed into animation production in 1998 with the acquisition of Ram Mohan Biographies. UTV's subsidiary UTV Toons handles its animation business.
In 2008, UTV re-entered the broadcasting business through its broadcast arm, UTV Global Broadcasting Ltd (UGBL). UGBL currently operates six channels:
- Bindass (formerly UTV Bindass)
- UTV Stars
- UTV Action (formerly Bindass Movies)
- UTV Movies
- UTV Movies International (International service available in North America, United Kingdom)
- UTV World Movies
- UTV ACTION TAMIL [Launching Soon]
In December 2007, UTV's ventured into production of gaming software and content through its subsidiary UTV Media by acquiring Indiagames Ltd., an Indian gaming company. It later went on to acquire Ignition Entertainment Ltd. and US-based True Games.
During the year, the results of the Games Content segment included consolidated financials of Ignition and Indiagames for the full year and financials of True Games for the period 11 September 2008 to 31 March 2009. During the year, the Gaming segment reported an increase in revenues of 49% to Rs. 1,105 million from Rs. 742 million in the previous year.
- Company History - UTV Software Communications
- "UTV expands Toons division". Indiantelevision.com. October 25, 2005. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
- "Walt Disney set to take control in UTV". Hindustan Times.
- "Walt Disney to more than double UTV stake to 32%". The Economic Times. 19 February 2008.
- "UTV & Fox in Strategic Tie-up -To co-produce M Night Shyamalan's next movie". India PR Wire.
- "UTV sells Hungama TV to Walt Disney for $30.5 mln". One India.
- "UTV Media to invest Rs 150 cr more in gaming". Business Standard.