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Help Big CBS eyes break even in 3 years; Prime launched
SOURCE: IndianTelevision.Com

MUMBAI: Big CBS Networks, an equal joint venture between Reliance Broadcast Network Limited and CBS Studios International, is looking at a break even within three years due to content advantages and group synergies.

The company is also in talks with Universal Studios and Walt Disney for Hollywood content.

"For English entertainment channels, the normal break even period is 3-5 years. With our strategic strengths, we would most likely end up with a 3-year break even," said a source in the company.

Big CBS today launched its first premium English general entertainment television channel, Big CBS Prime, acorss the Indian sub-continent. The other two channels, Big CBS Love and Big CBS Spark, are expected to roll out during this fiscal.

"The pact with Universal Studios will provide us access to library content. They won't be premieres but will include big movies. We have inked a similar deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment. Our mainstay, however, will be shows," the source added.

Big CBS has tied up with several multi-system operators (DTH) and DTH service providers Reliance Big TV and Airtel digital TV. Besides Reliance-controlled Digicable, Big CBS has inked distribution pacts with Den Networks, Hathway Cable & Datacom, InCablenet, and 7Star.

The channel will also be available on AsiaSat3S, the most widely reached satellite platform across Asia and Australia.

Reliance Broadcast Network CEO Tarun Katial said, “Through our distribution tie-ups, we have achieved nearly 100 per cent target audience coverage to reach over 20 million households on the day of launch.”

The distribution cost, according to industry sources, will be in the neighbourhood of Rs 500 million a year.

"The company is close to signing up two DTH operators," the sources added.

Big CBS Prime will feature America’s top rated television shows from CBS Studios International, airing them almost concurrent to the United States.

Big CBS Prime will have 37 hours of original programming a week, including hit shows like NCIS, Survivor, Late Show with David Letterman, the newest American cop drama Blue Bloods, critically acclaimed legal drama The Good Wife, Hollywood magazine shows like Entertainment Tonight and The Insider, the all time favourite Frasier and the fast paced forensic investigators drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

The English general entertainment channels have a combined ad revenue of Rs 900 million, according to industry estimates.

"The English programming as a category is highly under-developed. With our exclusive range of programming mix, Big CBS is uniquely posed to grow the size of this market,” says Katial.

The English GEC space is currently led by Star World and AXN.

"By forming a joint venture with media conglomerate CBS, Reliance has several advantages. The content assembling strategy will become increasingly difficult as the space gets heated up," a media analyst said.
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