RBNL-CBS part ways

MUMBAI: Two giants came together around three years ago: the Los Angeles based CBS Studios International and the Reliance ADA group’s Reliance Broadcast Networks Ltd (RBNL)'s subsidiary Reliance Television to set up Big CBS Networks, which would roll out a bunch of niche channels targeted at various specific audiences. Three channels emerged: Big CBS Prime, Big CBS Love, and Big CBS Spark.

On 31 December 2013, the two parted ways and the shutters were downed on the joint venture, though Big CBS Prime and Love stopped getting carriage on DTH platforms and cable TV networks in November itself. At that time, when contacted RBNL CEO Tarun Katial, all he said was no comment but the channel spokesperson stated that the channels were being aired on platforms where carriage fees were not being charged and that efforts were being made to redeem the situation.

But the fact is that a large US studio exited from the channel business in India just as the new year dawned, though it continues to operate in India and has been striking syndication deals with channels such as AXN from the Sony Entertainment Television network, Star World from Twenty first Century Fox and Zee Cafe from the Zee Network.

RBNL officials say that the parting was healthy and happened mutually. Sources indicate that the two channels Love and Prime had eight employees and they have been absorbed in RBNL in other departments.  Big CBS Spark Punjabi has been renamed as Big Spark Punjabi and the network says it will be focusing on regional channels going forward.


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