American studios and networks are grabbing larger share of Indian media and entertainment space. While it is still difficult to get a large toehold in the news business -- both print and television -- due to foreign direct investment (FDI) restrictions and caps, it has been relatively smooth sailing for Western players to establish a solid presence in the entertainment space.
Today we have all the key media players from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, Sony Entertainment Television, Time Warner's Turner International, Walt Disney and Viacom spread into the country in businesses that spans across television, films, internet, home and mobile entertainment, publishing and consumer products. The latest to join the fray is RTL Group, the leading European Entertainment Network which is part of Bertelsmann AG. Like Viacom which has entered the country in joint venture with Network18 Group, RTL Group has found its partner in Reliance Broadcast Network to launch thematic television channels in India through an equally owned, joint venture company
One driver of all these companies is that India's media and entertainment industry is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 14 per cent per annum through 2015 to reach Rs 1.3 trillion, according to FICCI-KPMG report on the Indian Media & Entertainment industry.
With regard to the recent JV that is being formed by RBNL and RTL group, the initial scope of the investment will include two English-speaking thematic TV channels; a reality channel with international content, mainly from RTL Group's production arm FremantleMedia, and a channel primarily targeting male viewers with action-oriented content. This is RBNL's second international joint venture, following suit to its joint venture with CBS Studios International. The joint venture channels will focus on the reality and action genres.