Bhakti building network empire

Firm takes advantage of cheap licenses

JAKARTA — Public securities firm PT Bhakti Investama has emerged as the dominant force in Indonesian broadcasting, with stakes in three networks (RCTI, SCTV and Metro) plus a fourth (Global) that plans to launch this year.

Bhakti is taking advantage of the low cost of TV broadcasting licenses to expand its empire while the Indonesian economy staggers amid a prolonged political leadership crisis. And there are no antitrust laws in the country.

Bhakti officials have declined interviews, but some broadcasting execs question whether the company intends to be a long-term player or whether it will sell out after the economy improves.

Headed by president-director Hary Tanoesoedibjo and founded in 1989, Bhakti has stakes in a wide range of businesses, from electronics to tobacco firms.

Last month, Tanoesoedibjo was also named deputy chief commissioner of PT Bimantara Citra, RCTI’s holding company, after it was revealed Bhakti had bought a 10% stake in Bimantara.

In debt

It has since been confirmed that Bimantara’s major shareholders — Bambang Trihatmodjo and Indra Rukmana (son and son-in-law of former president Suharto) — have given him proxy over their combined 45.37% stake. It’s believed Bhakti agreed to bail them out when they failed to repay loans to the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency.

Bhakti already had a major stake in SCTV, which vies with RCTI for second and third place in the ratings behind the leading web Indosiar. By seizing control of Bimantara, Bhakti acquires its interests in Metro and Global.

Its influence is already obvious on both channels. Bhakti rep Oerianto has joined RCTI in a senior finance post assisting president-director Wisnu Hadi. Nenny Soemawinata, who was RCTI’s chief operating officer, this month moved to Global as project director.

Apart from Global, two companies granted licenses in 1999 are preparing to launch. Trans TV aims to go to air in September, and LA Tivi intends to start next year. That will increase the number of privately owned webs to nine.

Many execs believe the advertising market, which is projected to run to $273 million this year (up about 7% on 2000), will support a maximum of five networks.

More TV

  • Discovery Extends CEO David Zaslav's Contract

    Discovery Extends CEO David Zaslav's Contract Through 2023

    JAKARTA — Public securities firm PT Bhakti Investama has emerged as the dominant force in Indonesian broadcasting, with stakes in three networks (RCTI, SCTV and Metro) plus a fourth (Global) that plans to launch this year. Bhakti is taking advantage of the low cost of TV broadcasting licenses to expand its empire while the Indonesian […]

  • Janina Gavankar

    Eka Darville, Janina Gavankar, Italia Ricci Join North Fork TV Festival Lineup

    JAKARTA — Public securities firm PT Bhakti Investama has emerged as the dominant force in Indonesian broadcasting, with stakes in three networks (RCTI, SCTV and Metro) plus a fourth (Global) that plans to launch this year. Bhakti is taking advantage of the low cost of TV broadcasting licenses to expand its empire while the Indonesian […]

  • Alice Wetterlund

    'Silicon Valley' Actress Calls T.J. Miler a 'Bully,' Cast Members 'Complicit'

    JAKARTA — Public securities firm PT Bhakti Investama has emerged as the dominant force in Indonesian broadcasting, with stakes in three networks (RCTI, SCTV and Metro) plus a fourth (Global) that plans to launch this year. Bhakti is taking advantage of the low cost of TV broadcasting licenses to expand its empire while the Indonesian […]

  • Troy Searer, Jesse Angelo

    New York Post Launches TV Division (EXCLUSIVE)

    JAKARTA — Public securities firm PT Bhakti Investama has emerged as the dominant force in Indonesian broadcasting, with stakes in three networks (RCTI, SCTV and Metro) plus a fourth (Global) that plans to launch this year. Bhakti is taking advantage of the low cost of TV broadcasting licenses to expand its empire while the Indonesian […]

  • Anderson Cooper Facebook Watch

    Facebook Watch's News Programs Need to Look Less Like TV and More Like Facebook (Column)

    JAKARTA — Public securities firm PT Bhakti Investama has emerged as the dominant force in Indonesian broadcasting, with stakes in three networks (RCTI, SCTV and Metro) plus a fourth (Global) that plans to launch this year. Bhakti is taking advantage of the low cost of TV broadcasting licenses to expand its empire while the Indonesian […]

  • Captain Marvel

    On-Location Filming Slides 5.2% in Los Angeles for Second Quarter

    JAKARTA — Public securities firm PT Bhakti Investama has emerged as the dominant force in Indonesian broadcasting, with stakes in three networks (RCTI, SCTV and Metro) plus a fourth (Global) that plans to launch this year. Bhakti is taking advantage of the low cost of TV broadcasting licenses to expand its empire while the Indonesian […]

  • THE VIEW - Paula Faris is

    Paula Faris Will Leave 'View,' Weekend 'GMA" for New ABC News Role

    JAKARTA — Public securities firm PT Bhakti Investama has emerged as the dominant force in Indonesian broadcasting, with stakes in three networks (RCTI, SCTV and Metro) plus a fourth (Global) that plans to launch this year. Bhakti is taking advantage of the low cost of TV broadcasting licenses to expand its empire while the Indonesian […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content