Contrary to industry speculations, Bennett, Coleman and Company Ltd (BCCL) officials have stated that the company has “not invested in any form” in NDTV MetroNation. The rumour that gained ground last week suggested that BCCL was taking a 26 per cent stake in NDTV MetroNation. On being questioned on the matter, BCCL’s Ravi Dhariwal said that this speculation was “baseless and untrue”.
Dhariwal refrained from offering comments on whether NDTV MetroNation had approached BCCL for investments at all.
Even as NDTV MetroNation’s CEO Rajiv Lulla was not available for comments while filing this report, it is understood that MetroNation had approached both Hindustan Times and BCCL for investments in this city-centric channel business from the company. Incidentally, HT, too, is not investing in NDTV MetroNation.
It may be recalled that the industry had recently been abuzz with rumours that NDTV has been contemplating the shutdown, or significant downsizing, of MetroNation. NDTV officials ruled out that possibility at the time, saying that MetroNation was “gearing for another launch”.
The MetroNation side of NDTV business is at present operational only in Delhi. The business plans once included a Chennai channel – a JV with The Hindu was established for this – and a channel in Mumbai as well. MetroNation’s fate is not precisely known at the moment, but sources close to the development divulge that NDTV has brought this business, much like all the other of its businesses, sharply under the scanner and is in the process of verifying its viability before growing it further in any form.
NDTV MetroNation turns one; channels in Chennai, other metros in the pipeline
NDTV launches Delhi-NCR centric news channel ‘MetroNation’