Anil Ambani plans foray into TV channel business

MUMBAI: Anil Ambani is planning to make an entry into the broadcasting business, the final piece in the media chain where he had so far stayed out.

On his radar is the launch of an entertainment business channel through Adlabs Films, the listed company where he acquired a majority stake in mid-2005.

"We are considering it and have given the proposal for the launch of an entertainment business channel. But the board has to approve of it," Adlabs chairman and managing director Manmohan Shetty tells

The idea is to capitalise on the contacts that Shetty has with the film industry and synergise content with Adlabs' film production business. The channel would also provide information on the gross earnings from box office collections and other financial data.

Shetty, however, did not wish to talk on the content front, saying "it was too early to talk about anything" till the go-ahead signal was given for launching the channel.

Adlabs already has a presence in film processing, production and distribution business. The company is also stepping into TV content production and has bought out majority stake in Siddharth and Anita Basu's production house Synergy Communications Pvt Ltd. Ambani has ventured into the FM radio sector with aggressive bids for stations.

"The acquisition process is not completed yet. We would be pumping money into the content business after that. We will be making content for other TV channels through this company," says Shetty. Synergy has produced popular shows like Kaun Banega Crorepati or KBC (an Indian version of the popular western game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire) for Star and Jhalak Dikhla Jaa (a local adaption of Dancing With The Stars) for Sony.

Adlabs has ambitious plans for animation. In the pipeline is a 3D feature film, Superstar, with Southern actor Rajnikanth's Ochre Studios which is slated for release in April 2008. The second animation project is a feature based on the characters Gini & Jony, who represent one of the top brands in children apparel in India.

"The first film will cost Rs 310 million and we will have a worldwide release. We haven't finalised the budget for the second film as we are not ready with the script yet," says Shetty.

Rounding up the media cycle will be the foray into the broadcasting space. Ambani has already announced his plans for IPTV and a direct-to-home (DTH) service.

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