Reliance Broadcast Network & CBS Studios to launch 3 channels by Q4 2010

MUMBAI: Reliance Broadcast Network Limited (RBNL) and CBS Studios International will be launching three television channels in India by Q4 2010 under their newly formed joint venture company – BIG CBS Network.

The JV company will be a limited liability company incorporated in India. CBS and RBNL (through its subsidiary) will act as shareholders and each have a 50% equity interest in the JV. The channels will be English language entertainment channels customized for the Indian market. While BIG CBS will initially focus on the English language general entertainment channels, the joint venture may also explore the option of launching Hindi language and regional language general entertainment channels, along with other possible projects in the future.

The first channel will be BIG CBS Prime, a premium English language general entertainment channel, which will be targeted at India’s fast-growing, upwardly mobile population. The second channel will be an English language youth channel called BIG CBS Spark and the third channel will be BIG CBS Love, which will be India’s first-ever English language entertainment channel for women.

The three channels will be made available across a network of digital and analog distribution platforms. They will also be offered to audiences across the Indian subcontinent covering India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the Maldives and Pakistan.

CBS content that will also be offered by the channels will include new series such as Hawaii Five-0, The Defenders and Blue Bloods, as well as current hits such as NCIS, Survivor, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, 90210, America’s Next Top Model and Entertainment Tonight.

The channels will also draw from 70,000 hours of content from CBS’s program library, including the original Melrose Place, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Frasier, Everybody Loves Raymond and Charmed, to name a few.

In addition, the venture will also acquire content from third-party suppliers and will consider producing original English language programming for the channels in the future.

Reliance Broadcast Network CEO Tarun Katial said, "We are proud to announce our joint venture with CBS, America’s leading television broadcaster. This is truly a landmark moment not just for us but the entire Reliance ADA Group, with our first step into the television broadcasting space. We see great opportunity in the Indian television industry which projects high growth rate, and we are confident that our deep understanding of the Indian consumer’s entertainment requirement and advertiser needs, coupled with CBS’ reputation for creating superior content, will offer unmatched and pioneering entertainment to audiences in Indiaand across the Indian subcontinent."

"Reliance is an international media and entertainment powerhouse and the perfect partner for CBS to expand further into India. The vast programming, production and media resources of our two companies position us extremely well to serve audiences, advertisers and all constituents of these new channels. This is an exciting alliance with potential for amazing synergies and new opportunities for our companies in one of the world’s most dynamic business and media markets," said CBS Studios International president Armando Nunez.