Television

ADAG-Reliance to focus on movie, radio operations; work on DTH goes `slow'

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MUMBAI: Anil Ambani's Reliance group has decided to concentrate on movie and FM radio businesses in the media and entertainment sector for the time being instead of DTH television service.

A top source in the group admitted that plans to start a DTH service in the country are going "slow".

Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) had applied for a DTH licence under the brand name Reliance Bluemagic, which is yet to get all governmental clearances.

A recent failure of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to put a new generation communication satellite in orbit could also have some bearing on Ambani's go-slow approach as far as DTH is concerned, a media industry analyst opined.

ISRO's recent failure has also put a question mark in the short term over Sun TV group's plans to start a DTH service in the absence of transponder space on India satellites, which is a pre-requisite government norm.

Sources in the Ambani-controlled ADAG also confirmed that present focus is on movie and radio business where scales of operation need to be ramped up considerably.

Anil has controlling holding in Adlabs Films, which was started by film industry veteran Manmohan Shetty who still looks after the business.

In recent times, Adlabs has signed up with several successful directors like Ram Gopal Verma and Kunal Kohli for a string of film productions over the next 24 months.

Acquisition of some existing production houses could have been an easy way out for Adlabs to increase scale of operations, but existing big production houses are not in sale mode at present, media analysts observe.

According to industry sources, Adlabs is looking at co-productions of films, bagging overseas distribution rights for big ticket Hindi movies, Indo-foreign country co-productions and ramping up the number of multiplex within the Adlabs fold so in future digital distribution of films could add some jazz to the business.

Meanwhile, Reliance Radio, helmed by former Sony India honcho Tarun Katial, has started fine-tuning its operations for a flag off.

Sources said that over the next 45-60 days a spate of private radio FM stations, which got licence in the second phase early this year, are likely to start operations. This would include Reliance's stations too.

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