| Mukesh, Anil: What you can do, I can do
New Delhi, June 11: Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries is eyeing the television business. The company is working on a business plan to launch a bouquet of channels, including a couple of news channels and a sports channel.
Broadcast media sources say the highlight of Mukesh’s television project is that he has succeeded in persuading the British Broadcasting Corporation to be Reliance’s partner.
The nature of the relationship between the two is still not clear, though. A BBC team has been doing the rounds for the past few months, looking for opportunities in the television business.
Management consultancy Ernst & Young has worked on feasibility reports for Mukesh’s television business. Last week, a Reliance team was in Delhi to finalise the company’s plans. Contacted in Mumbai, a Reliance spokesperson refused to comment.
Younger brother Anil Ambani has quickly made a splash in media and entertainment after the empire’s division last year, but Mukesh is not barred from entering these areas either.
The non-compete agreement the brothers signed permits both to compete freely in “content (movies, production and distribution, music, documentaries, television, short films, games, sports) production or ownership rights, physical distribution of content, print media, radio and television channels (excluding DTH, DTT ' digital terrestrial television, which provides a greater number of channels and better picture and sound quality using conventional antenna instead of a satellite or cable connection ' and streaming video).”
Mukesh may forge some sort of an alliance with a Delhi-based television software company.
It is not difficult to see why he is interested in the news TV business despite the existence of nearly 25 national news channels. Though news viewership is 5 to 6 per cent of the total TV viewership in India, it attracts 10-12 per cent of the advertising revenue in television.
News channels generate Rs 500 crore a year from advertising. Viewership is projected to grow by 30 to 40 per cent a year.