Reuters' Indian Media Joint Venture Headed For A Split?


Well, the rumor has been around for a while now – I first heard about it in December, but was unable to confirm it; “Why break off a successful partnership?” I was told. Now a report in Indian business newspaper Mint says that Reuters (NSDQ: RTRSY) is looking to exit its two-year old TV and digital media joint venture in India. It tied up with India’s biggest media group BCCL (publisher of Times Of India newspaper) and launched TimesNow, a 24-hour general news channel, with much fanfare. It was the first channel to be launched first on mobiles in India, before it was launched on TV. However, with fierce competition in the market, the channel took a while to take off. The joint venture CEO Sunil Lulla’s exited TimesNow last week. More on TimesNow here.

Currently, Reuters holds 25.82 percent stake in the venture (for which it paid $19 million back then), and it may be looking at a tie-up with another local TV company UTV. A Reuters executive has told Mint that they may end some old relationships, and enter into new ones. The two year old relationship between BCCL and Reuters also involves a content deal which may not end immediately. In the larger scheme of things, this could also mean that Reuters intends to take a direct to consumer route; they’ve already done that with their news website in India. Also, Reuters has the big merger with Thompson to deal with, so its attention might be on other things for now. But nothing announced yet, so watch this space.

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