Viacom and India 's TV18 Group have announced a 50:50 joint venture, Viacom-18, spanning film, television and digital media content.

Under the terms of the agreement, which is subject to regulatory approval, Viacom-18 will launch a new Hindi-language general entertainment cable and satellite channel in India within the next year. MTV Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom, will contribute its successful local networks - MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon India - to the joint venture.

The TV18 Group will contribute its motion picture operation, which produces, acquires and distributes Hindi-language films, to the joint venture.

Additional co-operation in the Indian market beyond this alliance includes joint ownership of film investment vehicle, The Indian Film Company, which is in the process of being listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange.

Viacom's Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks studios are also likely to explore additional opportunities for collaboration with Viacom-18.

' India is one of Viacom's priority markets for expansion internationally,' said Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman. 'The film operation for Viacom-18 will provide strong synergies with the TV and digital media business, as well as complement our Paramount and DreamWorks studios.'

TV18 managing director Raghav Bahl said: 'We are confident that Viacom-18 will entertain India's burgeoning film and television audiences. Viacom-18 will also propel the TV18 Group into the league of a truly diversified and broad-based media conglomerate.'