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RTL and Reliance ADA Halt TV Venture in India

HONG KONG – European television giant RTL and India’s Reliance ADA Group have ended their broadcast joint venture in India. It lasted just three years.

Its closure follows the similar termination of Reliance ADA’s joint venture with CBS in January this year.

The JV between RTL and Reliance Broadcast Network Limited was formed in May 2011 and operated the Big RTL Thrill channel that launched in October 2012.

RTL informed RBNL in April of the termination of the JV and its requirement that RBNL acquire RTL’s stake in the channel. The buyout by RBNL was completed last month. RBNL intends to continue running the channel under the Big Thrill name.

Big Thrill is currently a male-skewed channel focussing on English action content dubbed into Hindi. While the concept will remain largely the same, programming on the channel will evolve as existing content licenses expire. It will be replaced by Indian-made shows and regionally-sourced acquired programs.

Big Thrill, and its sister channel Big Magic, which focuses on comedy, are available on DTH platforms Dish TV, Reliance Digital TV and Videocon d2h and most of India’s major cable platforms.

The end of the JV means that RTL Group no longer has a broadcast foothold in India, though it is now up and running in South East Asia in partnership with CBS Studios Intl.

Headquartered in Singapore, RTL CBS Asia Entertainment kicked off last year by announcing two channels targeting 29 territories between Taiwan in the North and Indonesia in the South.

“Thanks to Big RTL Thrill we gained many insights into the Asian markets in a very short time frame and we met the colleagues from CBS Studios International with whom we launched RTL CBS Asia Entertainment network last year. It’s fair to say that without Big RTL Thrill there would be no venture with CBS Studios International for South East Asia,” an RTL spokesman told Variety. “Clearly RTL CBS Asia Entertainment Network has the bigger and more interesting potential for us.”

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