After acquiring the four-year global media rights for telecasting Indian cricket for a whopping Rs 2,700 crore, Nimbus Communications is now close to acquiring a regional TV channel in partnership with a foreign broadcasting major. The announcement is just weeks away.
According to sources close to the developments, Nimbus will buy out the promoters of a regional television company in which the foreign major will pick up a sizeable stake.
Further details of the deal have been kept under wraps. The sources added that the move was a departure from Nimbus’ previous plan to float a sports channel. “Nimbus will position the acquired channel as a sports channel with pan-Asia foot print,” they added.
When contacted, Nimbus Chairman and Managing Director Harish Thawani declined to comment.
The move is interpreted as a forward integration of Nimbus’ acquisition of the telecast rights.
“Now, Nimbus is into TV and is a sports marketing company. With a channel in its kitty, it will cash in both on subscription and advertising revenue. It has firmed up the advertising deals for the four-year cricket telecast,” the sources explained.
But the new channel will not automatically get exclusive telecast rights for the upcoming cricket events. “Nimbus will continue to have an arm’s length relationship with the channel and it will have to compete with the others,” the sources said.
Nimbus had signed agreements with Sahara One Media and Entertainment and Doordarshan to broadcast the India-England cricket series consisting of 3 Tests and 7 One-Day Internationals.
In the international scenario, Nimbus has reached agreements with broadcast companies in the US, Canada, the Caribbeans the UK and West Asia to broadcast Indian cricket live.
India’s thriving broadcasting industry, which was shut to foreign firms until not long ago, today counts Independent News and Media, Turner International, Malaysian TV firm Astro, Turner, Reuters and BBC Worldwide as its recent investors.
As the newspaper, television and radio boom continues in India on the back of increasing consumerism and rising literacy levels, a raft of other overseas investors are firming up plans to get a slice of the pie.