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Reliance-RTL TV venture seals Indian carriage deal

BIG RTL, the 50:50 Indian joint venture between Reliance Broadcast Network and Europe's RTL Group, has forged its first long term television distribution agreement with direct to home (DTH) operator Reliance Digital TV.

BIG TV will distribute the first offerings from the Big RTL bouquet – an English language action entertainment channel and an English language reality show channel. The reality based show will draw on content produced by RTL's FremantleMedia, while the second channel will be brimful of action and aimed at a male audience.

"With excellent business synergies, this alliance promises to be a winner for both parties. With digitization in the anvil and a more aware audience to cater to, BIG RTL's programming offerings will be designed to provide entertainment that these audiences seek," the company said in a statement.

"This partnership ensures it serves highly engaging and the best of international content to the huge subscriber base of Reliance Digital TV," it added.

The carriage partnership will extend across Reliance's Internet protocol TV (IPTV) platform as well as its DTH service.

RBNL already has a similar joint venture in India with US broadcaster CBS Studios International called BIG CBS, which has three English language general entertainment TV channels: BIG CBS Prime, BIG CBS Love and BIG CBS Spark. RBNL also has BIG Magic, a Hindi entertainment channel featuring comedy, music and Bollywood-based programming.

RTL's production arm FremantleMedia, meanwhile, produces 9,500 hours of TV programming each year, including the debut season of X Factor India, which was broadcast in 2011 by Sony Entertainment Television (SET).

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