It had FIPB nod for a 74:26 joint venture in November 2016 to operate an English language business news channel
It has decided to scale back operations and focus only on its digital product even as it continues to partner Bloomberg
NEW DELHI: Unable to procure a broadcasting licence in the last three years, Quintillion Business Media, which had plans to operate a business news channel in a joint venture with Bloomberg, is shutting down its TV division, leading to 100 people losing their jobs.
In a statement on Wednesday, the company said it was refocusing its strategy towards digital operations. “BQ will be terminating its television division as its broadcast licence remains pending. BloombergQuint will now concentrate all its resources in building upon the early success of its award-winning premium digital subscription service, BloombergQuint.com, which is a market leader in India in the business news space," a statement from the company said.
According to a person close to the development, the company is writing off ₹200 crore it invested in two state-of-the-art studios in Mumbai and in holding on to hundreds of people for three years in the hope of launching a TV channel.
The company had secured approval from the Foreign Investment Proposal Board (FIBP) for a 74:26 joint venture in November 2016 to operate an English language business news channel.
In January 2017, it acquired 100% shares of Horizon Satellite, which had the security clearance for an existing broadcasting licence to run a TV channel under the brand Y TV.
However, despite repeated applications to secure this licence for itself and get the name and logo of Y TV changed to BloombergQuint, which is routinely granted, the company was unable to get the nod from the information and broadcasting ministry. Later, the company applied for a fresh licence under BloomberQuint but did not hear from the ministry on its application.
The ministry did not respond to Mint’s query in this regard.
Quintillion Business Media took the matter to the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) and the Delhi high court but subsequently dropped the case.
Now the company has decided to scale back its operations and focus only on its digital product even as it continues to partner Bloomberg.
Serial entrepreneur Raghav Bahl is best known for founding the Network18 group in the early 1990s and expanding it into a media conglomerate with TV channels, digital properties and a magazine. While his business news channel was in collaboration with CNBC, his general news channel had a co-branding with CNN. However, by late 2011, the company had accumulated a large debt and it sought capital from Reliance Industries Ltd, which eventually acquired Network18 in 2014.
Later, Bahl founded Quintillion Media with his wife Ritu Kapur and entered into a joint venture agreement with Bloomberg LP, the US financial, software, data and media company.