PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from Delhi: It’s official. After months of speculation, TV18 promoter Raghav Bahl has confirmed that a business newspaper is in the offing, that Home Shopping 18 will be spun off into a separate channel, and that a $100 million fund is on the anvil in London.
In an email sent to the staff of the network on Wednesday, to mark TV18’s 50:50 deal with Viacom, Bahl charts the spectacular growth of the company and adds that a “business newspaper [is] on the drawing board”.
Whether the group will start a paper of its own or acquire an existing brand—the hot money is on Business Standard—Bahl’s email doen’t reveal, but a print foray is a logical trajectory for a group with two business channels (CNBC and Awaaz) in its bouquet.
Wednesday’s email, with the pumped-up subjectline “Your Momentum of Excellence”, pats itself on the back and takes not a few swipes at peers and compatriots.
# With two business channels, two news channels, two music channels, a kids channel, and a general entertainment and a film channel coming up, Bahl says: “Today, the TV18 Network could out-punch even [Rupert Murdoch‘s] Star Network”.
# With five channels in 18 months, he says, Global Broadcast News is bigger and more robust than any of its competitors: “You only have to put GBN’s 5-channel network against NDTV’s 3 channels, Times Now’s 2 channels and TV Today’s 4 channels… We have taken our valuation from one rupee in April 2005 to Rs 2,000 crore.”
# TV18 is the first company among its peers to hit the $one billion market capitalisation. “NDTV is half of TV18’s value, and TV Today is less than a fourth. Why? Once again, because investors like our brands, our execution capabilities, our relentless bottom-line focus, and above all, our business model.”
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