Reliance and Viacom18 on Wednesday announced a strategic partnership with Bodhi Tree Systems — a platform of James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems and Uday Shankar — to form one of the largest TV and digital streaming companies in India.
Bodhi Tree Systems is leading a fund raise with a consortium of investors to invest Rs 13,500 crore in Viacom18, to jointly build India’s leading entertainment platform and pioneer the Indian media landscape’s transformation to a “streaming-first” approach.
Viacom18 is amongst the leading players in the core linear television business with 38 channels across nine languages and a pan-India presence.
The transaction is expected to close within six months and is subject to closing conditions and requisite approvals.
Reliance Projects and Property Management Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries which has significant presence in television, OTT, distribution, content creation, and production services, will invest Rs 1,645 crore.
In addition, the popular JioCinema OTT app will be transferred to Viacom18.
Paramount Global (formerly known as ViacomCBS), a leading global media and entertainment company comprised of iconic content studios, TV networks and streaming services including CBS, Showtime Networks, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, Paramount+ and Pluto TV will continue as a shareholder of Viacom18 and will continue to supply Viacom18 its premium global content, a statement said.
“We are very excited to partner with Bodhi Tree and lead India’s transition to a streaming-first media market. We are committed to bringing the best media and entertainment services for Indian customers through this partnership,” said Mukesh D Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries.