CNN & IBN break 10-year-old partnership


CNN, the international news channel, has withdrawn from its partnership with TV18 group that resulted in the formation of the CNN-IBN channel. The CNN logo will now be dropped from the CNN IBN branding.

“The Parties have decided not to renew the arrangement,” TV18 Broadcast Ltd said.

TV18 Broadcast is part of the Network18 group, which is itself part of the Reliance Industries group, owned by billionaire Mukesh Ambani.

Network18 was started by journalist-turned-entrepreneur Raghav Behl, but control over the unit was transferred to Reliance Industries after the latter opted to convert its debt into shares in a holding company.

Behl exited the organization exactly a year ago in an unexpected turn of events.

TV18 did not specify whether TV18 was eager for the partnership with CNN to continue or whether it was a mutually agreed disengagement, instead saying that the agreement was allowed to lapse.

The agreement between the two groups was signed ten years ago when journalist Rajdeep Sardesai was chosen to head what would be an alternative to NDTV, which was then the only 24-hours English news channel in India.

Since then, CNN-IBN has been overtaken by Times Now, a joint venture between the Times of India group and Reuters, in ratings and revenue. Sardesai also quit at the time of the takeover of Network18 by Reliance, and is now anchoring prime time at India Today.

According to numbers released by Times Now, CNN-IBN was No.4 among English news channels, after Times Now, India Today and NDTV.

The expiry of the agreement between CNN and TV18 also means that CNN-IBN will no longer be able to take direct feeds from CNN global for coverage of international events.

TV18 also has a licensing agreement with US ground CNBC.