via press release:
RELIANCE BROADCAST NETWORK AND CBS STUDIOS INTERNATIONAL ANNOUNCE DEAL TO LAUNCH TELEVISION CHANNELS IN INDIA
Mumbai – August 18, 2010 — Reliance Broadcast Network Limited (RBNL), part of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, and CBS Studios International, a division of CBS Corporation, today announced their equally owned joint venture that brings together two of the world’s pre-eminent media and entertainment companies. Marking the announcement of the joint venture in Mumbai, India, were Tarun Katial, CEO, Reliance Broadcast Network Limited and Armando Nuñez, President, CBS Studios International.
The Joint Venture Company (the “JVCo”) will be a limited liability company incorporated in India. CBS and RBNL (through its subsidiary) will act as shareholders and each have a 50% equity interest in the JVCo. The joint venture will, at its start, see the creation of three new television channels allowing for programming rights in India, one of the world’s fastest-growing television markets, and across the Indian subcontinent. Leveraging both brand strengths, the JVCo is called BIG CBS Networks Pvt. Ltd. The channels will be English language entertainment channels customized for the Indian market, and will premier in the 4th quarter 2010, offering audiences immediate access to new and current CBS programs, including some of the most popular television programs in the world.
The three new channels will be made available across a network of digital and analog distribution platforms. They will also be offered to audiences across the Indian subcontinent covering India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the Maldives and Pakistan. The themed channels will be targeted to India’s fast-growing, upwardly mobile population and branded BIG CBS Prime, a premium English language general entertainment channel; BIG CBS Spark, India’s first-ever English language youth channel; and BIG CBS Love, India’s first-ever English language entertainment channel for women.
With Reliance Broadcast Network Limited’s multi-media presence and an integrated sales offering combined with the content and media muscle of CBS, BIG CBS stands to make a significant impact on India’s burgeoning television industry. Add to this considerable synergies across Reliance ADAG platforms, which include distribution forays through BIG TV and Reliance Digicable, television production through BIG SYNERGY and BIG Productions as well as filmed content through BIG PICTURES, international partnerships with DreamWorks and the Group’s many advertising and promotional platforms, the potential of this Joint Venture clearly has exciting prospects.
The wide range of popular CBS content to be offered by the channels will include new series such as “Hawaii Five-0,” “The Defenders” and “Blue Bloods,” as well as current hits such as “NCIS,” “Survivor,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “90210,” “America’s Next Top Model” and “Entertainment Tonight.”
The channels will also draw from 70,000 hours of content from CBS’s vast program library, including the original “Melrose Place,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “Frasier,” “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “Charmed,” to name a few.
In addition, the venture will also acquire content from third-party suppliers and will consider producing original English language programming for the channels in the future.
Commenting about the new Joint Venture, Mr. Tarun Katial, CEO, Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd. said, “We are proud to announce our joint venture with CBS, America’s leading television broadcaster. 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 see great opportunity in the Indian television industry which projects high growth rate, and 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 and across the Indian subcontinent.”
“Reliance is an international media and entertainment powerhouse and the perfect partner for CBS to expand further into India,” said Armando Nuñez, President, CBS Studios International. “The vast programming, production and media resources of our two companies position us extremely well to serve audiences, advertisers and all constituents of these new channels. This is an exciting alliance with potential for amazing synergies and new opportunities for our companies in one of the world’s most dynamic business and media markets.”
The Rs. 265.5 billion burgeoning Indian television market is estimated to have 134 million homes with televisions, of which 103 million have access to cable or satellite television, including direct-to-home (DTH). India is poised to become the world’s largest DTH satellite pay TV market by 2012, overtaking the U.S. with a projected 35 million subscribers.
While BIG CBS will initially focus on the English language general entertainment channels, the joint venture may also explore the option of launching Hindi Language and Regional Language general entertainment channels, along with other possible projects in the future.
The joint venture with Reliance in India marks CBS Studios International’s second significant launch of international channels in key markets in the past year. Last September, CBS established a joint venture with Chello Media to launch a suite of CBS-branded channels in the U.K. The company also has ownership interests in SCI FI and TV1, which are pay television channels in Australia.
About Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd.
Reliance Broadcast Network Limited (“RBNL”) is part of the Reliance ADA Group. One of India’s youngest media houses, it has grown at a steady pace and is reckoned today amongst India’s leading media businesses. RBNL currently has play in the spaces of Radio, Experiential Marketing, Out-of-Home and Digital and specializes in creating and executing integrated solutions for clients across the country. Its latest business venture marks the ADA Group’s entry into television through its 50:50 JV with America’s leading media house, CBS Studios International:
92.7 BIG FM – the radio brand pioneered the spread of FM entertainment with the launch of its 45-station network, reaching out to over 200 million Indians; BIG Live – the experiential marketing wing of the Company covers activations, events, intellectual properties and rural marketing; BIG Street – in the business of out-of-home media; and BIG Digital – an initiative in the digital space offering mobile and online solutions. BIG CBS – the television foray of the Group, will see the launch of three English language GEC’s catering to the Indian subcontinent. With Reliance Broadcast Network Limited’s multi-media presence and an integrated sales offering, combined with the content muscle of CBS, BIG CBS Networks Private Ltd., stands to make a significant impact on India’s burgeoning television industry.
Having built significant multi-media capabilities, these business verticals come together to offer a truly integrated solution to clients. For more information, log on to www.reliancebroadcast.com.
About CBS Studios International
CBS Studios International is the leading supplier of programming to the international television marketplace, licensing to over 200 markets and more than 30 languages across multiple media platforms. CBS Studios International also exports a diverse line-up of formats for local production around the world and participates in international channel ventures. The division distributes content from CBS Television Studios, CBS Television Distribution, SHOWTIME, CBS News, CBS Films and a library of more than 70,000 hours of programming. CBS Studios International is a division of CBS Corporation.
About CBS Corporation
CBS Corporation is a mass media company with constituent parts that reach back to the beginnings of the broadcast industry, as well as newer businesses that operate on the leading edge of the media industry. The Company, through its many and varied operations, combines broad reach with well-positioned local businesses, all of which provide it with an extensive distribution network by which it serves audiences and advertisers in all 50 states and key international markets. It has operations in virtually every field of media and entertainment, including broadcast television (CBS and The CW – a joint venture between CBS Corporation and Warner Bros. Entertainment), cable television (Showtime Networks, Smithsonian Networks and CBS College Sports Network), local television (CBS Television Stations), television production and syndication (CBS Television Studios, CBS Studios International and CBS Television Distribution), radio (CBS Radio), advertising on out-of-home media (CBS Outdoor), publishing (Simon & Schuster), interactive media (CBS Interactive), music (CBS Records), licensing and merchandising (CBS Consumer Products), video/DVD (CBS Home Entertainment), motion pictures (CBS Films) and sustainable media (EcoMedia). For more information, log on to www.cbscorporation.com.