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Bertelsmann Media plans to enter India

18-February-2004
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Bertelsmann Media plans to enter India

Big media groups are making a beeline for India; and the latest to explore the market is Germany's Bertelsmann Media. The company's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Gunter Thielen, is in the Capital in search of opportunities in the entertainment and publishing business.

"It (India) is one of the most interesting markets in the world," said Mr Thielen. He met the Information and Broadcasting Minister, Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad here. Earlier, the two had met when the latter had visited Germany. The German company is interested in television, films and publishing business. "We are looking at opportunities in all these areas," said Mr Thielen. The company, however, expressed concern about the rampant piracy in the music business.

Internationally, Bertelsmann produces content under the RTL Group, which is the topmost European broadcaster. In the publishing business, it has Random House and Europe's biggest magazine under the Gruner + Jahr banner. BMG is its leading company in the global music market.

The 11.7-billion euro company is also planning to set up a BPO in the country and is looking at the possibilities of outsourcing some aspects of the media business.

Bertelsmann has also not ruled out the option of picking up stake in Indian software companies. It is also looking at sourcing content from India. The Bertelsmann Chief is scheduled to visit Mumbai and interact with the film industry.

The company already has a presence in the Chinese market and has invested over euros 800-900 million in the country. While admitting that China is ahead of India in terms of development, he did not rule out the possibility of having larger investments in India. Bertelsmann has a minuscule presence in India in the music and publishing business.

Besides Mr Thielen, this week has seen Mr Richard D. Parsons, Chairman and CEO of the world's largest media company, Time Warner, visit India to review the company's existing business in the country. Time Warner is also believed to be looking at strengthening its presence in the country by launching new channels and expanding its presence.

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