RBN, CBS tie-up likely to liven up screen space

Written by Shaheen Mansuri | Mumbai | Updated: Jun 23 2010, 04:07am hrs
Reliance Broadcast Networks (RBNs) joint venture with US-based CBS Studios to operate a portfolio of television channels will bring in more competition in the various entertainment categories in India, leading to better content, according to analysts.

This kind of a tie-up will enable RBN to access a successful format of shows, currently on-air from CBS Studios. Entry of more channels will certainly increase competition, bringing in better content, said Farokh Balsara, partner and national leader, media and entertainment practice, Ernst & Young.

Reliance Big Broadcasting holds a valid licence to operate around 17 non-news television channels under the brand name Big, while it is awaiting clearance of 32 news channels from the information and broadcasting ministry. RBN and CBS will initially own and operate a bouquet of Hindi, English and regional channels. The joint venture will see a combined investment of around Rs 500 crore.

If RBN comes out with great programmes and distribution on a par with the latest entrant, Colors, it will have the potential to attract good viewership, another analyst said.

At its launch in 2008, Colors had used all media such as TV, radio, print, websites, mobiles, movie theaters and outdoor for promotion. It had placed 1,300 hoardings and launched road shows across the country. It is a positive move for the industry, said Rohit Gupta, head, network sales at Sony TV.

A recent report by Ficci-KPMG states that companies are likely to increase television advertising spend, helping the domestic television industry grow 15%, annually. The advertisement spend is likely to go up to $11.3 billion (Rs 51,980 crore) by 2014, from $5.7 billion (Rs 26,220 crore).

The report says that the number of television households grew 5% to reach 129 million in 2009, compared with 123 million in 2008. The penetration of television in the country grew from 56% in 2008 to 58% in 2009.

TV penetration in India is much lower as compared to some of the developed markets. Hence, the numbers have potential headroom for growth, states the report.

RBN stated: CBS Corporations television network is Americas number Broadcast Network and has an enviable record of developing hit shows like CSI, NCIS, Two and a Half Men, Young and the Restless, Americas Next Top Model, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Judge Judy, Entertainment Tonight and a whole host of others.