Venkataraman named CEO of both CNN IBN & IBN7

Venkataraman named CEO of both CNN IBN & IBN7

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Mumbai: Network18 Media & Investments has undertaken a significant reorganisation of corporate structure at its news media business under TV18 Broadcast. CNN IBN and IBN7 will now be headed by a common chief executive officer (CEO) in N Dilip Venkatraman.

Venkataraman, who was earlier CEO of only CNN IBN, replaces Piyush Jain at IBN7. In his expanded role, Venkatraman will be responsible for the strategic and operational management of both IBN7 and CNN-IBN.

Jain moves on to head TV18?s regional news foray, which will get a boost with the proposed acquisition of ETV?s news channels - ETV Uttar Pradesh, ETV Madhya Pradesh, ETV Rajasthan, ETV Bihar and ETV Urdu.

The only regional news channel currently operating under TV18 is IBN Lokmat, a Marathi language television news channel, owned equally by TV18 and Lokmat group of newspapers.

Network18 and TV18 are raising funds through their respective rights issues primarily for the acquisition of ETV group of television channels including news and general entertainment channels for Rs 21 billion from Reliance Industries Ltd. The companies are seeking to raise Rs 26.99 billion each from the rights issues, which will close on 4 October.

RIL will fund the Network18 promoter companies for subscribing to the rights issues and in exchange will get optionally convertible debentures issued by the promoter companies of Network18. RIL will lend a minimum of Rs 17 billion through investments in optionally convertible debentures. If none of the non-promoter shareholders subscribe to the rights issue, RIL will lend a higher amount.

Since Network18 group owns 59.76 per cent of TV18, the net capital raised from the rights issues will be Rs 43.12 billion.

CNN-IBN, IBN7, IBN-Lokmat editor-in-chief Rajdeep Sardesai said, "Dilip has been a core member of the team instrumental in building the IBN news channels into a strong position, beginning with the launch of CNN-IBN in 2005. His remarkable success in building on our values of inclusive journalism has propelled CNN-IBN forward and we?re confident that his leadership of IBN7 will take it to new heights".

Network18 Group CEO B Saikumar added, "We believe that the national news market is at an exciting juncture in its growth story and both CNN-IBN and IBN7 are well placed to capitalize on future opportunities. IBN7 has emerged as a brand with a distinct credo of journalism and viewer traction. In Dilip, we entrust the responsibility of exploiting synergies, ensuring sustained profitability and leading the drive to further enhance the brand equity and audience franchise of CNN-IBN and IBN7".

"In a highly competitive environment, we believe that IBN7 has carved a unique position for itself. Our goal now will be to unlock the value of its brand and thereby pave the way for further growth. I hope to work closely with the IBN7 team to ensure this objective is achieved," Venkatraman said.

Venkatraman was appointed as the CEO of the English news channel CNN-IBN in 2010. Prior to that, he was leading marketing operations for all existing IBN channels- CNN-IBN, IBN7 and IBN-Lokmat and managing IBN Focus, the customised media solutions unit for the channels.

He is also known for conceptualising properties including CNN-IBN Indian of the Year, Real Heroes, IBN7 Diamond States Awards, Citizen Journalist Awards and IBN7 Super Idols.

Venkatraman has over two decades of corporate experience and prior to joining Network18, he held leadership positions at the India Today Group and Zee Network.

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