TV18 and CNN decide to part ways; brand licensing arrangement to expire

Media firm TV18 Broadcast Ltd, which is controlled by Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), has decided to part ways with US-based media house Cable News Network Inc (CNN) bringing to an end their 10-year-old brand licensing agreement in January 2016, it said in a statement.

TV18 Broadcast, which is engaged in the production and telecast of news and entertainment programs, and CNN have decided not to renew the agreement for the use of the CNN brand and CNN news content.

Global Broadcast News (GBN), a TV18 group company, had signed a branding agreement with CNN Turner International in 2005. The agreement led to the launch of English news channel CNN-IBN India in December 2005. Later on, GBN became IBN18 Broadcast Ltd, which in turn became TV18 Broadcast Ltd.

The brand licensing agreement with CNN allows the Indian TV channel to pick reports from CNN’s global news network. They also share the brand name in the general English TV news channel CNN IBN, which is expected to be rebranded.

The group also has a separate arrangement with NBCUniversal for its business news TV channel CNBC TV18. CNBC is owned by NBCUniversal.

In May last year, RIL acquired a controlling stake in diversified media and entertainment group Network18 Media & Investments Ltd (NW18) in the biggest deal in the Indian media sector. It also brought under its control TV18 Broadcast Ltd (TV18).

This is the second big decision by RIL related to the media business after it folded the previously announced plans of an IPO of TV shopping and e-commerce platform HomeShop18 on New York Stock Exchange.

NW18 was founded by Raghav Bahl in 1993 and is the owner of a suite of premier digital internet properties, e-commerce businesses and broadcast content. Bahl quit the firm after selling his remaining stake in the company to RIL last year.

On Monday, shares of TV18 ended the day at Rs 36.30 each, down 3.46 per cent on the BSE in a weak Mumbai market.

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