Kolkata: US-based Bloomberg Television will start services in India next month in collaboration with the UTVi business news channel run by Ronnie Screwvala’s UTV News Ltd.
UTVi will be renamed Bloomberg-UTV next month, said a statement issued jointly by Bloomberg Lp, named after its founder and New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, and UTV News.
Bloomberg, which will supply editorial content to the channel, will not take any equity interest in UTV News, a firm founded and owned by Screwvala and his associates. Screwvala is in partnership with Walt Disney Co. separately and his group is also involved in film production.
In the past few years, Bloomberg has explored partnership possibilities with other Indian TV channels. The discussions with UTV have been going on for about two years.
UTVi was launched a year ago and competes with business news channels such as CNBC-TV18, CNBC Awaaz, NDTV Profit, Zee Business and the newly launched ET Now, the English business news channel by Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd.
“We are thrilled about this collaboration and believe the audience in India will strongly benefit from the news, analysis and the world’s most powerful business analytics tools that Bloomberg brings to bear,” Screwvala said in a release.
The arrangement is similar to the one between NBC Universal Inc. and Television Eighteen India Ltd, under which the latter pays a fee and a share of revenues for using the CNBC brand, said an industry expert who didn’t want to be named.
“We will welcome 30 million households in India to Bloomberg’s community of more than 200 million television households, who make up the most affluent and influential audience in the world,” said Andy Lack, chief executive of Bloomberg’s multimedia group, in a release.
According to data released by TAM Media Research Pvt. Ltd recently, UTVi currently has a 10% share of the English business news audience—almost the same as ET NOW. It trails CNBC-TV18, which is the leader with a 58% share of the audience, and NDTV Profit, second with a 22% share.
“It’s good for UTV News, but the market is going to get very tough for the existing players,” said the editor of a business news channel who did not want to be named. “But the entry of Bloomberg is unlikely to affect the Hindi channels in the business news space.”
The partnership will give UTV News access to the editorial content that Bloomberg generates from its 145 news bureaus across the world.