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BIG CBS Announces The Launch Of 3 English Entertainment Channels

BIG CBS Prime, a premium entertainment channel, BIG CBS Spark, youth channel and BIG CBS Love, women's entertainment channel.

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | August 18, 2010

Reliance Broadcast Network Limited (“RBNL”), part of The Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, and CBS Studios International, a division of CBS Corporation, today announced their equally owned joint venture, that brings together two of the world's pre-eminent media and entertainment companies. Marking the announcement of the joint venture in Mumbai, India, were Tarun Katial, CEO, Reliance Broadcast Network Limited and Armando Nuñez, President, CBS Studios International.

The Joint Venture Company (the “JVCo”) 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 JVCo. The joint venture will, at start, see the creation of three new television channels allowing for programming rights in India, one of the world’s fastest growing television markets, and across the Indian subcontinent. Leveraging both brand strengths, the JVCo is called BIG CBS Networks Pvt. Ltd. The channels will be English entertainment channels, customized for the Indian Market and will premier in the 4th quarter 2010, offering audiences immediate access to new and current CBS programs including some of the most popular television programs in the world.

The three new English 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. The themed channels will be targeted at India's fast-growing, upwardly mobile population and will be branded BIG CBS Prime, a premium English general entertainment channel, BIG CBS Spark, India’s first ever English youth channel and BIG CBS Love, India’s first ever womens English entertainment channel.

With Reliance Broadcast Network Limited’s multi-media presence and an integrated sales offering, combined with the content and media muscle of CBS, BIG CBS stands to make a significant impact on India’s burgeoning television industry. Add to this, considerable synergies across Reliance ADAG platforms which include distribution foray through BIG TV and Reliance Digicable, TV production through BIG SYNERGY and BIG Productions and filmed content through BIG PICTURES, international partnerships with DreamWorks and the Group’s many advertising and promotional platforms, the potential of this Joint Venture clearly has exciting prospects.

The wide range of popular CBS content to be offered by the channels will include brand-new series such as “Hawaii Five-0,” “The Defenders” and “Blue Bloods,” and current hits such as “NCIS,” “Survivor,” “CSI,” “90210,” “America’s Next Top Model” and “Entertainment Tonight.”

The channels will also draw from 70,000 hours of content from CBS's vast 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.

Commenting about the new Joint Venture, Tarun Katial, CEO, Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd. 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 India and across the Indian subcontinent.”

“Reliance is an international media and entertainment powerhouse and the perfect partner for CBS to expand further into India,” said Armando Nuñez, President, CBS Studios International. “The vast programming, production and media resources of our two companies position us extremely well to serve audience, 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.”

The Rs. 265.5 billion burgeoning Indian television market is estimated to have 134 million homes with televisions, of which 103 million have access to cable or satellite television, including DTH. India is poised to become the world's largest direct-to-home satellite pay TV market by 2012, overtaking the U.S. with a projected 35 million subscribers.

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 joint venture with Reliance in India marks CBS Studios International's second significant launch of international channels in key markets this year. Last September, CBS established a joint venture with Chello Media to launch a suite of CBS branded channels in the U.K. The company also has ownership interests in SCI FI and TV1, which are pay television channels in Australia.

Info@BestMediaInfo.com

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