Bloomberg-Quintillion Media JV on the verge of split: Report

MUMBAI: US news & data behemoth Bloomberg LP is looking to end its joint venture (JV) with Raghav Bahl’s Quintillion Media as the partners have failed to secure a licence from the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB).

According to a moneycontrol.com report, Bloomberg is scouting for a new Indian partner as Bloomberg Quint is on the verge of collapse. The report stated that losses are mounting for the JV leading to staff attrition. The growing losses and staff reduction have impacted the platform’s programming for digital platforms.

However, both Bloomberg and Raghav Bahl have denied the development in separate statements to moneycontrol.com. “Bloomberg remains committed to the India market and to our partnership,” the financial news brand said.

Raghav Bahl, on his part, added, “It seems to be at the behest of vested interests who are apparently resentful of the success of BloombergQuint, which has created a strong footprint in the digital space. We are confident that as soon as our broadcast licence is approved, we shall replicate that success in the broadcast market and go further. Since the content of your mail lacks credence and is motivated by vested interests, we do not wish to state anything further.”

Quintillion Media holds 74% in the JV while Bloomberg owns the remaining 26%. Bloomberg Quint had launched its digital live streaming service in September 2017. It has also launched a digital subscription service BQ Blue.

As reported earlier, Raghav Bahl’s Quintillion Business Media is awaiting for the MIB approval to launch its English business news channel Bloomberg Quint. The company’s name change application is pending with the MIB.

Quintillion Business Media has acquired a licence from Kolkata-based Horizon Satellite Services after a prolonged delay to acquire a licence directly from the ministry. After acquiring the licence from Horizon, the company has applied for a name change of the licence to BloombergQuint. The licence is under the name Y TV.

Incidentally, Horizon has also lent a licence to Tamil news channel Malai Murasu. The company has two directors Mansukh Dugar and Panchi Jain. Dugar is also one of the directors of News Nation Network, which owns and operates Hindi news channel News Nation.

Bloomberg forayed into the Indian market in partnership with Ronnie Screwvala’s UTV. Bloomberg UTV was eventually sold to Anil Ambani. The channel was later renamed Bloomberg TV. In 2016, Bloomberg TV was renamed BTVI following the expiry of the brand licencing agreement between Bloomberg Media and Ambani’s Business Broadcast News. BTVI suspended transmission with effect from 31st August.

The English business news market has become a two-player market with CNBC-TV18 having a huge lead over its nearest competitor ET Now. NDTV Profit, which had shut down in 2017, has also resumed transmission.

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