TV channel joint venture is first fruit of 2011 pact
LONDONIndia’s Reliance Broadcast Network, part of billionaire Anil Ambani’s conglom, and the RTL Group, a division of German giant Bertelsmann, will launch action adventure channel Big RTL Thrill in India on Nov. 5. The companies pacted in 2011 for a 50-50 joint venture to bow TV channels in the region. The channel is targeted at male viewers aged 15 to 44 and will feature international content dubbed in the Hindi language, including “Fear Factor,” “Cobra 11,” “Criss Angel,” “Wipe Out” and “Baywatch.” Thrill will initially be tested in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, home to India’s largest male population, before expanding across the country and then to Sri Lanka, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The Luxembourg-based RTL group operates 52 TV channels and 29 radio stations in nine countries, mainly in Europe. Reliance has a license to operate 20 TV channels in India and has a separate joint venture with CBS.