CBS Studios and Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd have terminated their 50:50 joint venture in India, three years after the two media companies had partnered to launch TV Channels in the country. The JV had launched three channels: Big CBS Prime (Premium General Entertaiment Channel), Big CBS Love (for women) and Big CBS Spark (Music), apart from entering the regional channel space with Spark Punjabi. Last year in February, announced the launch of a Hindi dubbed feed for BIG CBS Prime, trying to reach a wider audience. While there is no official announcement from the companies, the end of the joint venture had seemed apparent once the channels went off DTH (citing high carriage fees), according to IndiaTelevision.com, and a report in The Economic Times points towards terrible distribution for the channel.
TV Biz Is Bleeding RBNL
In Q2-FY14, Reliance Broadcast Networks Ltd reported an operating income of Rs 58.59 crore, and a loss of Rs 18.69 crore. The TV segment reported revenues of Rs 8.66 crore, and an EBITDA loss of Rs 16.97 crore. In comparison, the Radio segment reported revenues of Rs 49.8 crore and a profit of Rs 4.97 crore. TV was a key loss-making segment for the company. Details.
Reliance Broadcast Networks also has a partnership with European broadcaster RTL, which includes the channel BIG RTL Thrill. It’s key business, however, remains FM Radio 92.7 BIG FM, with 45 stations. Apart from this, it owns the TV channels BIG Magic, and TV production house BIG Productions. The company is likely to focus on more Indian content, which attracts a wider audience.
The question is: will CBS look to enter India independently now? Looks unlikely. ET reports that CBS has recently strengthened its content sharing deal with AXN in India, and quotes AXN business head Sunil Punjabi as saying that the channel will bring CBS’ biggest shows to India, now that the deal with Reliance Broadcast is over.