Business Today

The big A

Big is Anil Ambani’s media brand and the name seems to define his ambitions in the sector. The world’s sixth-richest man, with a networth of $45 billion (Rs 1.93 lakh crore), will now be pumping in a billion dollars into razzmatazz’s ultimate pilgrimage, Hollywood—producing 10 movies over a period of 18 months.

     Print Edition: June 15, 2008

Big is Anil Ambani’s media brand and the name seems to define his ambitions in the sector. The world’s sixth-richest man, with a networth of $45 billion (Rs 1.93 lakh crore), will now be pumping in a billion dollars into razzmatazz’s ultimate pilgrimage, Hollywood—producing 10 movies over a period of 18 months.

Anil Ambani
Anil Ambani
And unlike the Amritraj brothers, who started off with small-budget entertainers, Ambani Junior is gunning for Hollywood’s top guns, having signed co-production deals with Nicholas Cage’s Saturn Productions, Jim Carrey’s JC23 Entertainment, George Clooney’s Smokehouse Productions, Chris Columbus’ 1492 Pictures, Tom Hanks’ and Gary Goeztman’s Playtone Productions, Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment and Jay Roach’s Everyman Pictures.

Ambani, who, many say, has set his sights on becoming India’s media baadshah through his company Reliance Entertainment, is aiming for core strengths across content and distribution platforms for a commanding presence in the Rs 43,700-crore industry.

The company entered media and entertainment space in 2004, when Reliance Infocomm, then managed by elder brother Mukesh, was involved in active test runs for broadband TV and gradually moved into mobile entertainment.

Name: Anil D. Ambani

Age: 48

Designation: Group Chairman & CEO

Company: Reliance ADAG

Then came the approval for its DTH licence application, under the name of Reliance Skymagic—later changed to Reliance BlueMagic to avoid confusion (the Tata group’s DTH brand name is Tata Sky).

Today, Ambani’s entertainment business encompasses production, exhibition, music, home entertainment, radio, television software, IPTV, gaming and even social networking.

The company’s business model is based on the four-screen paradigm—Cinema Screen for filmed entertainment, multiplex and digital cinema business; TV-Screen for DTH and IPTV initiatives; PC-Screen for triple-play broadband services of content, voice over internet protocol (VOIP) and entertainment delivery through internet; and lastly, Mobile-Screen for content through its R-World portal. That, in effect, is a four-pronged attack to take on the likes of STAR India and Network 18—which should make for an interesting media stakeout.

Anusha Subramanian

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