The first Big-CBS channel to be launched by fourth quarter

By Sapna Nair , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | July 16, 2010
Big-CBS is the joint venture between Anil Ambani owned Reliance Broadcast Network and CBS Corporation

The joint venture between Reliance Broadcast Network (RBN) and US media giant CBS Corporation, Big-CBS, will finally mark Reliance's entry into the television broadcasting space, which it has been planning for a few years.

The team that was instituted for the company's broadcast venture initially was hived off into two verticals, Big Boom, the film marketing division and Big Productions. Big Productions is now an independent company and is producing shows in various languages such as Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati and Hindi for channels such as STAR One and STAR Majha.

The first channel to be launched will be an English entertainment channel. A source within the company says that RBN does not want to go the 'big bang' way and instead, will launch niche channels to begin with. The English entertainment channel will be in the league of STAR World and Zee Café.

Next on the agenda is an English movie channel. Subsequently, Big-CBS will focus on the regional genre. A Hindi GEC is not on the company's agenda for the first six-seven months. Launches in the regional space will include GECs and channels in the movie genre. The English entertainment channel will be launched by the last quarter of this year.

Tarun Katial, chief executive officer, Reliance Media World will head the broadcast venture. A management structure is being formed and will be finalised in a few weeks. The source says that the company will not hire people as the strategy will leverage the resources from its radio company, Big FM. Big FM has 45 stations in its network.

Right now, the agreement between RBN and CBS is a non-binding one. The final agreement will be signed within a month.

Reliance had acquired license to launch 20 channels comprising news channels, children's channels, movie channels, music channels and regional channels. The company's original plan was to launch its first channel in 2008.

CBS Corporation is a US media conglomerate focused on broadcasting, publishing, billboards and television production. It has produced popular shows such as CSI, Two and a Half Men, America's Next Top Model and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

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