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Anil Ambani signs lucrative TV deal with CBS

Reliance Broadcast Network, a subsidiary of the family-owned Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Group, announced 18 August it has signed a joint venture agreement with US-based CBS Studios International to provide a new set of TV channels in India.

Reliance and CBS will both have a 50% equity share in the new company, called BIG CBS Networks, which will initially create three new English language TV channels. The deal is a first for both companies as they attempt to tap into India's growing TV market.

Tarun Katial, non-family CEO of Reliance Broadcast Network, said: "This is a landmark moment, not just for us but the entire Reliance ADA Group, with our first step into the television broadcasting space. We see great opportunity in the Indian television industry which projects high growth rates." 

According to the statement announcing the joint venture, India is poised to become the largest satellite pay TV market by 2012, overtaking the US with a projected 35 million subscribers. 

Apart from equal ownership of the new company, details of the deal were not disclosed.

CBS Studios International is a subsidiary of the entertainment giant CBS Corp, in which family-head Sumner Redstone holds a controlling stake through his family business National Amusements. The US media company follows other prominent media groups including News Corp, Disney and Viacom in attempting to enter the Indian market.

Reliance ADA is the business empire of Anil Ambani (pictured), 50, one of India's most successful businessmen, who inherited the Reliance empire along with his brother Mukesh, 53, when their father died in 2002. But due to ongoing disagreements the competitive brothers split the business into two separate conglomerates in 2005. 

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