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Forbes India's "Rich List" places Subhash Chandra as the richest media owner in the country
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Subhash Chandra is the richest media baron in the country with a net worth of $ 2.7 billion. Chandra -- the chairman of Essel Group that owns Zee Entertainment Limited and Zee News Limited among other interests -- has been ranked 19th on the list of the 100 richest people in India. The list has been published by Forbes India magazine, a partnership between Forbes and Raghav Bahl founded Network 18.

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Chandra has, for the first time, pipped Indu Jain, the chairman of Bennett, Coleman & Company Limited (BCCL), which owns two leading newspaper brands, the Times of India and the Economic Times, among other ventures. Jain is at No. 20 on the list with a net worth of $ 2.4 billion.

She is followed by the owner of Sun TV network, Kalanithi Maran, who has a net worth of $ 2.3 billion. Maran's net worth has jumped almost 100 percent from what it was last year. He has also made it to the cover page of Forbes Asia edition for the same reason.

The three are among the 52 billionaires who adorn the list of India's 100 richest people. Mukesh Ambani continues to be India's richest man, with a net worth of $32 billion, followed by steel czar, LN Mittal, who has a net worth of $20 billion. Mukesh's estranged brother, Anil Ambani is at No. 3 with a net worth of $17.5 billion.

The magazine points out that strong stock market performance, coupled with 6 per cent economic growth, has led to increased net worth. "The stock market performance could be the main reason for Subhash Chandra racing ahead of Indu Jain in the ranking, since BCCL is not listed," says Charles Assisi, executive editor, Forbes India.

The only other media owner who has made it to the list is the chairperson of Hindustan Times Media Limited, Shobhana Bhartia, who is at No. 76, with a net worth of $690 million.

This is the first time that Forbes has compiled a list of 100 richest Indians. Till last year, when Forbes India had not been launched, Forbes Asia used to bring out a list of 40 richest Indians.

The increase in the number of billionaires in India is in sharp contrast to the world billionaires list released by Forbes Magazine, which swelled 23 per cent in 2009 compared to 2008.

"This year's list shows yet again that when conditions in the financial markets and the economy are right, India has the scale and resources to produce billionaires faster than most of the countries on earth," says Naazneen Karmali, India editor of Forbes Asia and Mumbai bureau manager for Forbes magazine.

The rankings have been carried in a special "India Rich List" issue that hit newsstands this morning (Friday, November 20). With this edition, the cover price of the magazine has also been doubled to Rs100. The magazine was launched in May 2009 at an invitation price of Rs 50.

"We saw good response and traction. The magazine is worth the price," comments Assisi on the price hike. He adds that the magazine's content-ad ratio is roughly 75:25.

According to sources, the magazine has a subscriber base of around 25,000 and sells between 30,000-35,000 copies through newsstands. Though the rankings are available on the website, the entire content has not been uploaded, in order to retain the value of the print offering.

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