Anil Ambani-promoted Reliance Entertainment is likely to launch its direct-to-home transmission service around December, according to a senior company executive today.
The DTH launch would be supplemented with the launch of two movie channels, one in Hindi and the other in English, the executive said.
The company has already begun hiring people to run the channels.
“We have hired Ashutosh, who used to head Sahara One’s Filmy channel,” the official said.
Reliance Entertainment also plans to launch two news channels around mid-2008. Sandeep Bamzai, who was heading Hindustan Times’ business bureau in Delhi, has moved in and is likely to lead the news business.
In a heavily crowded market for news channels, Reliance’s news channels will slug it out with existing players such as CNN-IBN, NDTV, TV Today, Sahara and a host of newcomers such as INX Media and BAG Films.
All the television channels of Reliance Entertainment would have the name Big, a label it uses for its FM radio channel launched through Adlabs Films, the official said. Reliance ADAG holds a controlling stake in Adlabs.
The official declined to comment whether the channels and the DTH business would also come under Adlabs.
Early this year, the group raised its stake in TV Today to over 15 per cent, following it up with a mandatory open offer to shareholders to acquire 20 per cent more in the company.