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Super Cassettes Industries, Time Warner Music plan joint venture 

New Delhi, March 19: Super Cassettes Industries Limited and Time Warner Music have initiated negotiations for setting up a separate joint venture company in India, marking T-series' foray into English rock and pop music segment.

The two companies are initially planning to join hands on a royalty payment basis, which would later be converted into a joint venture company, depending on the success of the collaboration, Bhushan Kumar, SCIL managing director and son of late Gulshan Kumar, said.

Scil, he said, is also open to the idea of foraying into film production with the Times Warner group.

``Scil would, in the first phase, have a licensing arrangement with Times Warner Music, whereby the international bands under the Warner umbrella would be released in India through T-series.

``For the first two years, we would be marketing international music here under the licensing agreement. After two years, we intend to convert this into a separate joint venture company, with equity investments by both Scil and Warner Music...In the future, we can also think of joint production of movies, provided both partner find it feasible.'' the new company would be independent of Scil, he added.

The venture, he said, is part of the Scil group's thrust on its music business and would mark the company's foray into english music. ``T-series today controls around 65 per cent market in film music and hindi pop albums. We are now planning to expand our horizons into ghazals and even english music. We have lined up some big artistes in the ghazal field, including Jagjit Singh. For the foray into english music, we are joining hands with Times Warner.''

The deal is expected to be finalised following the completion of the global merger of US-based Times Warner and UK's EMI group. EMI group is merging its music business with Time Warner in a 50-50 joint venture called Warner EMI music. The group will be valued at about 12 billion sterling, and will be the world's largest music group with annual revenues of about 4.9 billion sterling.

EMI's most powerful stars include the Rolling Stones, the Spice Girls and Radiohead, while Time Warner has solo artistes and bands like Cher, Goo Goo Dolls, Staind and Red Hot Chilli Peppers under its wings.

Meanwhile, Super Cassettes Industries Limited is also planning a major thrust on film production and has lined up several big names in the film industry for directing their films.

It is also planning to become a major force in the consumer electronics sector and has tied up with the $six billion Sichuan Changhong electric company limited of China for marketing DVD players and video cd players under the T-series-Changhong brand in India.

The dvd player is priced at Rs 20,000, while the VCD player would sport a price tag of Rs 9,000.

The VCD player, he claimed, has all the features that are currently available in the Indian market, besides being the only VCD player having rf output. It also comes with a FM karaoke cordless microphone for free.

SCIL, Kumar said, is also launching old time hindi movies ondvds. In addition, the company is planning to increase the variety of music available on its cassettes as well as penetration in the market. ``We intend to grow into a leadership position in home entertainment in the year 2000.''

In addition to the tie-up, the Rs 300 crore SCIL will continue to market indigenously produced audio systems and colour televisions under the existing T-series brand. The company also has an existing tie-up with Hyundai Corporation for producing video cd players.

``We will continue to market these products directly through SCIL. They will complement the Changhong range and not compete with it,'' he said.Scil, Kumar said, is also eyeing a foray into the home appliances market. ``We already have ceiling fans under the T-series brand...And are planning to extend it to toasters and mixer grinders. We intend to make these products indigenously.''

Copyright © 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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