UTV Software Communications
|United Television Software Communications Pvt. (1990–1998)|
|Founded||22 June 1990|
|Mahesh Samat (Managing director)|
|Products||Cable television, publishing, films, music, video games, broadcasting|
|Parent||The Walt Disney Company India|
(Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International)
UTV Software Communications Ltd. (abbreviated as UTV) is an Indian mass media conglomerate owned by The Walt Disney Company India. UTV was incorporated as United Television Software Communications Pvt. Ltd. on 22 June 1990 by Ronnie Screwvala and Zarina Screwvala. The company later became public, on 27 November 1995, and was renamed to UTV Software Communications Ltd. effective 19 March 1998. UTV was listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the Indian National Stock Exchange, and its motion picture division, UTV Motion Pictures Plc was listed on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market (AIM).
On 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 Zarina Screwvala. The remaining shares were publicly traded. Disney eventually increased its ownership in UTV to 100% in 2012, making UTV Communications Software a wholly owned subsidiary.
- 1 History
- 2 Corporate structure
- 2.1 Subsidiaries/joint ventures
- 2.1.1 UTV Motion Pictures (UMP) PLC
- 2.1.2 UTV Communications (USA) LLC (UTV USA)
- 2.1.3 IG Interactive Entertainment Limited (IG)
- 2.1.4 UTV TV Content Limited (UTV TV)
- 2.1.5 First Future Agri and Developers Limited (FFADL)
- 2.1.6 UTV Global Broadcasting Limited (UGBL)
- 2.1.7 UTV Games Limited (UTV Games)
- 2.1.8 UTV New Media Limited (UNML)
- 2.1.9 Smriti Irani Television Limited (SITL)
- 2.1.10 UTV Toons Limited
- 2.2 Film production and distribution
- 2.3 Television production
- 2.4 Broadcasting
- 2.5 Gaming
- 2.1 Subsidiaries/joint ventures
- 3 Partnerships
- 4 References
- 5 External links
At the time of incorporation, the group was primarily engaged in the production of television content for Doordarshan-Prasar Bharti and production of ad films. In 1992, with the entry of satellite TV, ZEE TV commissioned the group to produce around 250 hours of content, making it one of the largest content providers. Around this time, it also expanded into the businesses of in-flight entertainment programming and dubbing. In 1993, the company acquired programs from outside producers and marketing airtime for UTV channels. In 1995, it launched a daily soap titled "Shanti" and ventured into the movie distribution business.
In May 1995, it acquired a 54.60% stake in Laezer Production Private Limited to enter the area of post-production. Laezer Production Private Limited was incorporated on 29 January 1982 and became a public company effective 27 November 1995. Subsequent to the acquisition of the 54.60% UTV Group stake, Laezer Production Limited was renamed as UTV Studios Limited in December 1995. At that 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 distributed feature film library into Indian languages. During this year, the company’s In-flight Entertainment division, which was supplying 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 artists 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. United Breweries Group acquired the operational control of the channel in 1995 and the name was changed to Vijay TV. The UTV Group acquired the controlling interest from United Breweries Group.
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 use. In 2000, UTVNet started the business of broadband content aggregation under the brand name sharkstream.com, through its subsidiary Sharkstream.com Pte. Ltd., Singapore.
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 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 businesses. The studio operations of WOMTL were thus merged with the group’s post-production business.
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.
Acquisition by Disney
Between 2007 and 2011, UTV was targeted for an acquisition by Fuse Global and Global Media Fund. Both corporations had approached UTV Software Communications and made several attempts to play a role in becoming a financier to the studio, but neither deals materialised.
The Walt Disney Company acquired a 50.44 per cent stake in the company, making them the majority shareholder and bringing the company into the Disney group, and in 2011, Disney offered to acquire the outstanding shares of UTV Software Communications held by public shareholders and stakeholders of the company in a deal valued around Rs 20 billion (US$297 million). Upon the buyout, the company was delisted from both the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange of India and became a wholly owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company in January 31, 2012, being re-organized under The Walt Disney Company (South East Asia) Pte Ltd.
As of 31 March 2009, the company has the following subsidiaries/joint ventures:
UTV Motion Pictures (UMP) PLC
UTV Motion Pictures (UMP) was a division 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 a 76.82% controlling stake of UMP Plc which in turn holds a 99.75% controlling stake in UTV Motion Pictures (Mauritius) Limited.
UTV Communications (USA) LLC (UTV USA)
UTV Communications (USA) LLC is a subsidiary incorporated on 26 April 2004 with the mission to carry out film acquisition, syndication and distribution business in the United States.
IG Interactive Entertainment Limited (IG)
IG is a subsidiary incorporated on 6 September 2004 with the mission to carry out Film Acquisition, Syndication and Distribution business in the United Kingdom.
UTV TV Content Limited (UTV TV)
UTV TV Content Limited (UTV TV) is a division 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 to produce content for television channels.
First Future Agri and Developers Limited (FFADL)
First Future Agri and Developers Limited (FFADL) 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 April 29, 2009.
UTV Global Broadcasting Limited (UGBL)
UTV Global Broadcasting Limited (UGBL) is a division of UTV Software Communications Ltd. incorporated on 6 June 2007 as a broadcaster for satellite television channels in India. On 8 August 2008 UTV Software Communications Ltd. acquired a 75% stake in equity shares of UGBL. UGBL is a parent company for its two wholly owned subsidiaries, Genx Entertainment Limited (Genx) and UTV Entertainment Limited (UETL). Genx and UETL are engaged in the business of up linking and broadcasting entertainment for non-news and current affairs channels from India.
On 30 September 2009, UTV Software Communications Ltd. acquired an 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 division of UTV Software Communications Ltd. incorporated on 5 September 2008 to oversee all of its video game assets. On 10 September 2008, UTV Games Limited acquired an 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)
UTV New Media Limited (UNML) is a division of UTV Software Communications Ltd. incorporated on 20 September 2007. It develops and maintains websites and acquisition and exploitation of digital rights on mobile, gaming and digital platforms. UTV New Media was the division that managed UTV's video game development companies.
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 Toons Limited
UTV forayed into animation production in 1998 with the acquisition of Ram Mohan Biographies. UTV's division UTV Toons handles its animation business.
Film production and distribution
UTV ventured into film distribution in 1996 with its UTV Motion Pictures Plc. division. UTV Motion Pictures portfolio includes Hindi movies, regional South Asian movies, domestic animated features and international productions and co-productions. The studio's rights and distribution are currently held exclusively by The Walt Disney Company India which uses UTV Motion Pictures as the exclusive distributor for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures feature films in South Asian markets. It has filled this role since 2013.
UTV started off producing television content and advertisements, partnering with Indian public broadcaster Doordarshan in 1990. With the entry of satellite television to India, UTV expanded its functions and produced television programmes for other Indian TV channels, such as Zee TV and Star Plus.
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 because of the growth in the television business. The segment reported a profit of Rs. 54 million, compared to Rs. 180 million in the previous year.
The following is the complete list of TV programmes produced by UTV:
In 2004, UTV launched Hungama TV, a kids channel for the South Asian market. This channel was sold to Disney India in 2006. Hungama TV was re-integrated into UTV Software Communications after it became a subsidiary to Disney.
In 2008, UTV re-entered the broadcasting business through its broadcast arm, UTV Global Broadcasting Ltd (UGBL). All UTV channels are now part of Disney India Media Networks
- Bindass Play (Defunct)
- UTV Action (formerly Bindass Movies)
- UTV Movies
- UTV Stars (Defunct)
- UTV Movies International (International service available in North America, United Kingdom)
- UTV World Movies (Defunct)
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 and True Games. After The Walt Disney Company acquired UTV Software Communications as a wholly owned subsidiary for The Walt Disney Company India, it liquidated UTV Ignition Games assets.
The UTV Group’s relationships include the following.
- UTV is credited as a co-producer with 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight Pictures for ‘The Namesake’, ‘I Think I Love My Wife’ and ‘The Happening’ through UTV Mauritius and USA.
- UTV is associated with Verizon, Vodafone and AirTel and over 80 telecom companies worldwide for mobile game publishing, new media and online gaming through UTV Indiagames.
- UTV is associated with Coca-Cola, PepsiCo/Pepsi, Hero MotoCorp, Honda Motor Company, Hindustan Unilever, P&G, Cadbury, Airtel, Reckitt Benckiser, Godrej and Johnson & Johnson for sponsorship and branding relationships across various TV channels and content titles.
- UTV has partnered with Virgin Comics to create original superhero franchises across platforms exclusively for the imprint.
- UTV has worked with Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. in the console gaming business through UTV Ignition Games.
- UTV has relationships for television content with Star India, Zee Entertainment Enterprises, National Geographic Channel and Sun TV.
- "UTV Software Communications > Company History > Media & Entertainment > Company History of UTV Software Communications - BSE: 532619, NSE: UTVSOF".
- "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 expands Toons division". Indiantelevision.com. 25 October 2005. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
- "Walt Disney offers to acquire UTV for about Rs 2,000 crore".
- "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.