Bodhitree to invest Rs.13,500 crore in Viacom 18
This could be the biggest alliance and partnership in the digital / media space. Bodhi Tree Systems will invest a huge sum of Rs.13,500 crore into Reliance Viacom 18. However, the original promoter of Viacom 18, Paramount Global, will continue to be a shareholder in Viacom 18.
In addition, Paramount Global will also continue to supply its premium content to enhance the offerings of Viacom 18. This will help enrich the Viacom content stack.
What exactly is Bodhi Tree Systems?
It is an investment venture promoted jointly by Lupa Systems, part of the Rupert Murdoch group and the former head of Disney India, Mr. Uday Shankar. Uday Shankar was also the CEO of Star TV in India, before he moved to Disney India.
The total investment of Rs.13,500 crore by Bodhi Tree Systems will also be topped up be an additional investment from the Reliance group to the extent of Rs.1,645 crore.
The new business plan will be a tripartite venture between Bodhi Tree, Reliance Industries and Viacom 18. The offering will be one of the largest TV and digital streaming firms in India.
The content offered by this venture will largely focus on digital streaming as the standard norm for delivering content across channels. Apart from investing Rs.1,645 crore in the venture, Reliance will also transfer its Jio Cinemas OTT venture to the Viacom 18.
Globally, Paramount has a lot of channel offerings in the form of television services. In addition, it also offers streaming services which include CBS, Showtime Networks, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, Paramount+ and Pluto TV.
The goal of Bodhi Tree is to leverage the shared track record of the collaborating companies and build landmark business that have the potential to shape the media landscape.
Both James Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch, and Uday Shankar have a stellar track record in creating, scaling and monetizing the media ecosystem. In that, the capabilities of both the partners of Reliance is unmatched.
They have played a pivotal role in the Indian media industry for over 20 years now. The alliance will be line with the thinking of the Reliance group that streaming content is the road ahead and the hardware is already in place. It enables Reliance to leverage its multiple front-ends to offer real time streaming to Indians.
Viacom 18 has a leadership position in the core linear television business and has an expanse of 38 channels across nine languages. It already has a pan-India presence with payment options across platforms.
This will create a multi-product portfolio for the company with its pan-India presence across general entertainment, movies, sports, youth, music and kids genres. The funds and the best practices will be useful in the early days of the alliance.
Bodhi Tree was jointly floated by James Murdoch and Uday Shankar to create and deliver top of the line and future ready content. Incidentally, Bodhi Tree has already raised $1.5 billion from the Qatar Investment Authority as part of their early fund raising for investing in the media business.
Bodhi Tree has a focus on investing in media and consumer technology opportunities that will offer shareholders quality content across Southeast Asia, with strong India focus.
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