Viacom has acquired 50% of India’s Prism TV Private LTD for $153 million, chief exec Philippe Dauman revealed Friday. The remaining 50% stake will continue to be owned by the Network18 Group, Viacom’s partner in the Viacom18 joint venture. Prism TV owns owns a number of regional entertainment channels in India, including ETV Bangla and ETV Gujarati.

“Regional TV networks, and regional ad markets, are the next wave of growth in India. Having a strong national and broad regional presence gives us a powerful platform to launch additional brands, and introduce successful franchises and formats across India,” commented Bob Bakish, president and CEO of Viacom International Media Networks.

Almost 60% of India’s 1.2 billion speak regional dialects as their first language, according to Viacom with regional TV stations accounting for the second-largest share of viewing in the Indian market, behind only Hindi general entertainment channels.