Reliance Media World sprints 4 percent

Mumbai Reliance Media World, to be renamed Reliance Broadcast Network, gained 4 percent at the bourses Monday after the company announced it will form an equal joint venture with US-based CBS Corp to roll out a portfolio of channels to tap the television broadcast market in south Asia. The Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) firm signed a preliminary, non-binding agreement Sunday with the CBS Studios International, a unit of CBS Corp, to set up the venture and hoped to close the deal within a month, Reliance Media World said in a regulatory filing. The venture will initially launch English language general entertainment channels. It will then explore owning or operating Hindi and other regional language channels in the future, the company said. The venture will have programming rights across India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives. The geographical footprint could be further expanded in the future, the company added. According to a recent KPMG and FICCI report, the media and entertainment industry is likely to grow at a rate of 12.5 percent annualy, over the next five years and touch $20.09 billion by 2013. Television was the largest segment of India's entertainment industry, with revenues of 257 billion rupees ($5.6 billion) in 2009. Another ADAG firm, Reliance Big Entertainment, last year took a 50 percent stake in Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks Studios. After the big bang announcement, the Reliance Media World scrip touched its upper circuit limit during the day at Rs.79.85, before ending trade at Rs.79.10, up 4.01 percent from its previous close at Rs.76.05.