Indian broadcaster Viacom 18 is to open a Dubai office to manage sales, marketing and distribution of its channels in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) with the aim of expanding its viewer base in the region.
Viacom 18, a 50:50 joint venture between Viacom from the US and Indian media conglomorate Network 18, operates the Hindi general entertainment channel Colors, as well as MTV, VH1 and Nick in India. A science fiction channel Sonic was also launched in December, and the Comedy Central channel is to be unveiled by Viacom18 in India next week.
"The entertainment industry in the Middle East holds a remarkably high potential for South Asian channels," said Gaurav Gandhi, head of international business and chief operating officer, Sun18 North.
"With the ever increasing demand for Indian content and Colors' rising popularity in the region, we have decided to set up our regional Middle East operations. We take this opportunity to thank our longstanding partners Pehla for their unwavering support through our journey."
The new office will be overseen by Sachin Gokhale, director, business operations – Middle East and Africa. His new advertising sales team, led by Brendan D'Souza, will now take over the role which had previously been carried out by Viacom 18's distribution partner in the region, Pehla.
It is Viacom 18's second overseas office, following one in the US which opened in September 2010.