Reliance Media to form joint venture with CBS

Companies would launch English-language TV channels

NEW YORK -- CBS Corp. and India's Reliance Media World are in advanced talks about a TV joint venture that would focus on the launch of English-language channels in India.

If a deal is finalized, it would be the latest to push a U.S. media giant into the fast-growing country that many in the industry have targeted.

CBS declined comment.

While talks are advanced, an announcement is likely still at least a few weeks away.

The discussions are focused on forming a 50-50 joint venture to establish English-language, CBS-branded channels on Reliance's DTH satellite TV platform in India and sell them to other cable and satellite distributors in the region.

The channels would carry mostly CBS content.

CBS struck a similar deal with Chello in the U.K. in September. CBS has been looking to use the strength of its brand to expand into big foreign TV markets, ensure a stake in a venture there and also reap ongoing licensing fees for CBS content in line with management's focus on getting paid for library content in new ways.

In the case of Reliance, CBS-branded channels would be filled with CBS Corp.-owned hit programs, such as the "CSI" franchise, "NCIS," "The Good Wife" and "America's Next Top Model."

CBS network shows licensed from other TV producers, such as "Two and a Half Men," "How I Met Your Mother" and "The Young & the Restless," wouldn't be included as the company doesn't have the rights to sell them internationally.

Reliance and CBS are also discussing potential Hindi-language general entertainment channels.