Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd has entered into non-exclusive negotiations with the RTL Group, part of Germany headquartered media conglomerate, Bertelsmann, and the parent of reality TV major FremantleMedia, to launch a portfolio of television channels in India. A non-binding term sheet has been executed, and negotiations are expected to be completed within four months. The partnership will allow Reliance Broadcast access to FremantleMedia’s content, and launch two channels – one focused on Reality TV and another an action channel targeting men. Reliance is, among other things, pitching distribution across platforms – DTH, IPTV, and cable, as well as Mobile, Online and Gaming. To be honest, we haven’t seen any pathbreaking show-related cross-media deployments from the Reliance Group yet.
This joint venture will be a limited liability company, with 50% shareholding from each company. Reliance Broadcast says that the venture will be independent, and has tried to downplay conflict and competition with another joint venture that they inked last year: a 50:50 JB with CBS corporation. Reliance Broadcast currently operates one channel via its CBS JV: BIG CBS Prime, a premium general entertainment channel. It also plans to launch BIG CBS Love, an international entertainment channel for the contemporary Indian couple, launching on March 21st, and BIG CBS Spark, an international youth entertainment channel, expected to launch by end of month; they’re delayed by a few months. The Reliance Group has licenses for around 20 channels, and it also recently acquired Imagine Showbiz from Cinestar Advertising Pvt. Ltd., which will be rebranded.
There’s significant benefit for Reliance from this partnership, if it can get exclusivity for Fremantle content: Fremantle owns brands like the Idols series, Got Talent, The X Factor, Good Times – Bad Times and Family Feud, and has shows across talent, game shows, drama, daily soaps and reality shows. Fremantle produces 9,500 hours of programming across 57 countries. The joint venture also proposes to production & distribution of RTL owned and controlled formats, particularly with its production companies BIG SYNERGY and BIG Productions, and filmed content through BIG PICTURES.
The RTL Group owns 40 television channels and 33 radio stations in ten countries, and has a market cap of around $15.5 billion, Reliance Broadcast said in a statement.