Reliance Broadcast Network has plans for Hindi and regional as well

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | August 19, 2010
Reliance Broadcast Network and CBS Studios have entered into a joint venture which will launch three English entertainment channels in India to begin with

After months of silence, Reliance Broadcast Network (part of the ADA Group) and CBS Studios International (part of CBS Corporation) shook hands officially at a press announcement held in Mumbai on August 18.The final lap of agreement was signed yesterday morning between the two media companies. The new entity will be called Big-CBS Network.

The nature of the joint venture (JV) is such that CBS and RBNL (through its subsidiary) will act as shareholders and each will have 50 per cent equity interest in the JV company, Big-CBS.

To begin with, Big-CBS will launch an English entertainment channel called Big-CBS Prime. As reported by afaqs! earlier, this channel will be launched in the fourth quarter (October). This will be followed with the launch of two more English entertainment channels targeted at the youth and women. These will be called Big-CBS Spark and Big-CBS Love respectively and will target the fast growing upwardly mobile population of India.

The JV promises to offer audiences immediate access to new and current CBS programmes such as Hawaii Five-0, The Defenders, Blue Bloods, NCIS, Survivor, CSI, 90210, America's Next Top Model and Entertainment Tonight. The channels will also have access to 70,000 hours of content from CBS' programme library, which includes properties such as Star Trek: The Next Generation, Frasier and Everybody Loves Raymond.

Besides, Big-CBS will acquire content from other production studios as well, while also looking at producing content in India. Some of the shows such as Entertainment Tonight may also be adapted for Indian audiences. Big-CBS will have the first access to all the CBS offerings.

Tarun Katial, chief executive officer, Reliance Broadcast Network, said, "This is truly a landmark moment not just for us but the entire Reliance ADA Group, with our first step into the television broadcasting space. We are confident that our deep understanding of the Indian consumer's entertainment requirement and advertiser needs, coupled with CBS' reputation for creating superior content, will offer unmatched and pioneering entertainment to audiences in India."

Armando Nuñez, president, CBS Studios International, said, "The vast programming, production and media resources of our two companies position us extremely well to serve the audience and advertisers. This alliance has the potential for amazing synergies and new opportunities for our companies in one of the world's most dynamic media markets."

Aparna Pande, head, Big-CBS, said, "While Big-CBS Prime will be a premium English entertainment channel, the other two, Big-CBS Spark and Big-CBC Love, will be category creators with distinct programming."

The Big-CBS network will exploit the synergies of RBN's multi-media presence and an integrated sales offering. Synergies will be availed across Reliance ADAG platforms which include Big TV, Reliance Digicable, Big Synergy, Big Productions and Big Pictures.

The JV will initially focus on the English general entertainment genre. RBN may also foray into Hindi language and regional language general entertainment channels in the future. The company may seek another partner for the same, an official said.

CBS Studios International is a leading supplier of programming to the international television market, licensing to more than 200 markets. The company also exports a line up of formats for local production around the world.

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