Reliance & Viacom18 have announced a strategic partnership with Bodhi Tree Systems, a platform owned by James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems and former Star & Disney India Chairman Uday Shankar, to create a major TV and digital streaming company in India.
Bodhi Tree Systems is leading a capital raising to invest ₹13,500 crore in Viacom18 to jointly build India’s leading entertainment platform.
Viacom18 owns and operates the suite of Colors TV channels and the OTT platform VOOT.
Reliance Projects & Property Management Services Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries with a strong presence in television, OTT, distribution, content creation and production services, will invest £1,645 million.
Also, the popular JioCinema OTT app will be ported 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 remain as shareholders of Viacom18 and continue to provide Viacom18 with its global premium content.
Bodhi Tree Systems will leverage the partners’ combined track record of building iconic businesses and shaping the media landscape in India and globally.
Mukesh D. Ambani, CMD, RIL said: “James and Uday’s track record is second to none. For over two decades, they have played an undeniable role in shaping the media ecosystem in India, Asia and around the world.”
“We are committed to providing the best media and entertainment services to Indian customers through this partnership,” he said.
Mr Murdoch and Mr Shankar said in a statement: “Our goal is to leverage technological advances, particularly in mobile, to provide meaningful solutions to meet everyday media and entertainment needs at scale. We want to reshape the entertainment experience on more than 1 billion screens.”
The transaction is expected to close within six months and is subject to closing conditions and required approvals.