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'BIG CBS Spark, BIG CBS Love and BIG CBS Prime' 3 New channels from Reliance in Oct
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#1
US media conglomerate CBS and Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd (RBNL) jointly announced their entry into the Indian television market, floating an equal joint venture company that would initially roll out three English entertainment channels in October.

The venture, called Big CBS Networks, intends to own and operate a portfolio of primary linear pre-programmed television channels in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the Maldives and Pakistan.

"We are launching the channels in October. We have got the government approvals," said RBNL CEO Tarun Katial.

The themed channels will be targeted at India's
fast-growing, upwardly mobile population and will be branded Big CBS Prime (English general entertainment channel), Big CBS Spark (English youth channel) and Big CBS Love (English entertainment channel for women).

The joint venture, signed between RBNL, a Reliance ADAG company, and CBS Studios International, a division of CBS Corp, plans to launch the English entertainment channels customised for the Indian market to coincide with the festive season.

When asked why it took over three years for Reliance ADAG to foray into broadcasting, Katial said they were waiting for the Adlabs demerger to be complete.

The English GEC space has so far been restricted to just three players, making it the smallest genre in Indian television.

"There are two reasons for this. US media companies did not sufficiently invest in India. Also there was not enough supply of quality content for Indian companies to launch channels in this space. Digitisation is making quality content available for viewers," said Katial.

Big CBS Networks has plans for local shows on their channels. The joint venture will use production house Big Synergy for this. CBS has formats that can also be successfully exploited for the Indian market.

Commenting on the broadcasting venture, CBS Studios International president Armando Nunez said: "The growing subscription revenues and the youth market make India attractive for us. We couldn't, however, have done it alone. We had to find the right partner."

Shows that will air include 90210, CSI, NCIS, America's Next Top Model, The Defenders, Blue Bloods. The channels will draw from CBS' library which has 70,000 hours of content. It will also acquire content from third party suppliers.

Reliance, controlled by billionaire Anil Ambani, and CBS plan to launch a wide spread of channels in several languages. Reliance already has a presence in FM radio, outdoor, digital advertising, multiplexes, movies, television content production, DTH, cable (through Digicable acquisition) and gaming businesses in the media and entertainment space.

International media heavyweights have been aggressively eyeing the Indian market. News Corp, Sony, Viacom, Turner, and Disney have been expanding in India.

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#2
I've been tracking this story for a while now and I'm glad its materialized. The 3 channels should be a good addition to the not-so-vast English GEC's. One thing that gets me wondering is that if these intend to become mainstream channels, how will the deals with channels like AXN, Star World and Zee Cafe be intact. What I mean is that if if Prime is (possibly) going to show CSI, will it air on AXN, as it currently does? If it airs on both, wont it dilute the competition?

Its a similar case with Fox Crime, which airs CSI...

Whatever the case, hope Prime and Spark have some good content on offer, especially hope they air the Late Show With David Letterman, which is shown very casually by Star World...
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