New Delhi: Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) and Turner International ended a 16-year-old strategic collaboration on Monday and the mutually decided to work independently to drive subscription revenues.

The two brands had joined hands in 2002 to manage distribution and trade marketing for a bouquet of channels in India.

Turner, an American entertainment and distribution brand, is known for creating and managing the sales, distribution and marketing of news and entertainment brands like CNN International, Cartoon Network, POGO, Toonami, HBO and WB across India and South Asia. Turner Asia Pacific is the parent company of Turner International India Pvt. Ltd. (Turner India), which operates 63 channels in 13 languages in 37 countries in the region.

Subhash Chandra-led media and entertainment company ZEEL, meanwhile, is present across broadcasting, movies, music, digital, live entertainment and theatre businesses, both within India and overseas. Owned by the Essel Group, it is one of India’s oldest media organizations.

Both ZEEL and Turner declined to comment on the story.

Industry experts said the split doesn’t come as a surprise. The collaboration made sense earlier given Turner’s bouquet of cartoon and kids’ channels, which ZEE had no expertise in.

“You could bundle channels together and pricing happened at a bouquet level," said Girish Menon, co-head, media and entertainment, KPMG India. “Now with the change in Trai (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) regulations, each channel has to be priced individually and doesn’t allow for bouquet-level bargaining or make for much economic benefit."

Industry experts pointed to the other media and distribution partnerships that have dissolved over time—in 2014, Star India and ZEE called off the 50-50 distribution joint venture they had inked in 2010.

“The regulation can be a reason. That is how the market is evolving," said Abneesh Roy, an analyst with Edelweiss Securities.

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