The development that has occupied news space for a while now, in terms of speculative reports and vehement denials from Global Broadcast News (GBN) and the Jagran Group, has finally fructified. GBN (a TV18 venture with Rajdeep Sardesai and Sameer Manchanda) has announced its intention to make a strategic investment in Jagran TV Pvt Ltd’s (JTL) Channel 7.
After the investment is completed, GBN and JTL will have equal ‘inter se’ ownership interest in Channel 7. An official communiqué put out on February 10, 2006, stated that Mahendra Gupta, Chairman of JTL, would continue to lead the Board of the joint venture, while the editorial, production, distribution and other operations of Channel 7 would be integrated with all the news channels of the TV18 Group.
This strategic investment is expected to be completed over the next 60 days, subject to a satisfactory due diligence followed by the receipt of necessary board, shareholder and regulatory approvals.
The joint press statement quoted Gupta as saying, “Channel 7 has built a strong position in the news industry within a short period. We look forward to partnering with CNN-IBN and the TV 18 Group, which will provide a bigger platform to the channel.”
Raghav Bahl, Managing Director, TV18, added, “The experience and respect that the Dainik Jagran Group commands will be an invaluable asset for this partnership. With such a powerful 4-channel bouquet of market leaders (Channel 7, CNN-IBN, CNBC-TV18, Awaaz) straddling the entire spectrum of general and business news in English and Hindi languages, the TV18 Group will become the indisputable leader among India’s news broadcasters.”
An informed source close to the development told exchange4media that Rajdeep Sardesai would be the Editor-in-Chief of the channel in its new structure and a Managing Editor, who would report to Sardesai, would be appointed to run the day-to-day operations of the channel. In essence, the editorial control of the channel will be with GBN.
Sources in the industry pointed out that GBN had been keen to enter the Hindi news genre to complement the CNN-IBN. This deal with Channel 7 has ensured that issues like distribution and editorial hands are largely taken care of.