Reliance, RTL set joint venture

Partners to launch thematic channels in India

India’s Reliance Broadcast Network, part of billionaire Anil Ambani’s conglom, is entering into a 50-50 joint venture with the RTL Group, a division of German giant Bertelsmann, to bow TV channels in India.

First up will be two English-language channels, one reality oriented and the other action based. There are plans for channels in Hindi and other Indian languages down the line.

Reliance has filed proposals with the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange.

While waiting for regulatory approval, Reliance has signed a preliminary, nonbinding pact with RTL. Under the agreement, the new channels will have access to shows produced by RTL-owned FremantleMedia, such as “The X Factor,” “Good Times, Bad Times,” “Pop Idol,” “Family Feud” and various versions of the “Got Talent” franchise.

The RTL group operates 40 TV channels and 33 radio stations in Europe.

Reliance has a license to operate 20 TV channels in India. Last year, it entered into a joint venture with CBS and launched Big CBS Prime. Big CBS Love and Big CBS Spark will be on air shortly.