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Anil Ambani’s Reliance Television buys out 50% stake of CBS in the Indian JV

MUMBAI: Reliance Television Pvt Ltd (RTPL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd (RBNL), has bought out the 50 per cent stake of global media conglomerate CBS Studios.

With this purchase, RTPL has taken full control of Big CBS Networks. In 2010, RTPL had entered into an equally owned joint venture company with CBS and the entity was called Big CBS Networks.

Big CBS Networks has now been renamed Azalia Distribution & Television Pvt Ltd. After the termination of the agreement with CBS, Azalia has considerably scaled down its operations.

TelevisionPost.com was the first to report that the Anil Ambani-promoted RBNL and CBS parted ways, ending their joint venture that lasted over three years and rolled out three entertainment channels – Big CBS Prime, Big CBS Love and Big CBS Spark – in India. The divorce marked the exit of CBS from the Indian TV broadcasting market.

In the wake of all these developments, RBNL has made provision for Rs 30 crore ( Rs 300 million) in its  account during the quarter ended 31 December 2013 for the loans and advances granted to RTPL. Being a wholly owned subsidiary of RBNL, RTPL had made investments in the step down entity, Big CBS Networks (now Azalia).

Though Azalia has trimmed down operations, the management is confident that on a need basis it can scale up.

RBNL, which operates television channels and FM radio business under the Big FM brand, has an aggregate investment of Rs 109.42 crore ( Rs 1.09 billion) in RTPL. RBNL’s investment is in the form of equity as well as loans and advances.

RBNL’s thrust in the TV broadcast business will be on growing language television. It will push Big Magic in terms of footprint and expanding original hours of content.

Big Magic has entrenched itself in Central India, and has expanded reach across the Hindi Speaking Market (HSM). Big Magic has also gone global and launched in the US and Canada. RBNL has also launched Big Magic Bihar and Jharkhand for the region.

RBNL has a 50:50 joint venture with Europe’s RTL Group. The JV runs an action-oriented channel, Big RTL Thrill, which targets male audiences and is available in dual feeds of English and Hindi.

Also Read:

RBNL, CBS JV split; Big Magic to expand with regional variants