CNN Renews India News Network Partnership

CNN Building - P 2014
AP Images

CNN Building - P 2014

The Turner-owned network and India's TV18 will continue their co-branded CNN-IBN news channel after earlier saying they would end their branding and content licensing deal after 10 years.

Time Warner's CNN and leading Indian network TV18 have renewed their licensing deal for the co-branded CNN-IBN news channel. The agreement extends the branding and content licensing deal for the English-language channel, which was launched in 2005.

Financial terms and the length of the new deal weren't disclosed.

TV18 is part of leading TV and media group Network18, which was acquired last year by India's richest tycoon Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries for $680 million via an affiliate. Ambani's younger brother Anil runs the Reliance ADAG group, which is the Indian partner of DreamWorks.

The renewal follows an earlier announcement in June by both companies, which said they were not going to extend the decade-old CNN-IBN licensing deal, which was set to end in January.

“We are bound by contractual confidentiality and are not in a position to share [the] details of our agreement, but let’s be clear, it is not a short-term agreement,” CNN chief commercial officer Rani Raad told The Hollywood Reporter when asked about the duration of the new deal.

“The agreement remains the same two-fold, brand licensing and content sharing partnership,” said Raad, adding: “In this second term, CNN and TV18 will forge a much closer working relationship to enable CNN-IBN’s globally-savvy viewers to stay ahead. There is renewed interest and commitment from both sides."

The companies didn't say what caused them to renew their partnership after earlier saying they would end it. Given Indian government regulations don't allow foreign news networks majority ownership of an Indian news network — though the foreign investment limit was recently increased to 49 percent from the earlier 26 percent — unconfirmed reports had suggested CNN was looking for other cooperations, with Indian TV giant Zee and its Zee News unit mentioned as a possible partner.

Network18 chairman Adil Zainulbhai said in a statement: “With this renewed partnership, we will enhance the process of news gathering and delivery to our viewers in an informative and enlightening manner.”
Network18 also runs Viacom18, a joint venture with Viacom, which in India has such brands as MTV India, VH1 India, Comedy Central, Nick India and flagship Hindi entertainment channel Colors, among others. The joint venture also runs film banner Viacom18 Motion Pictures.