After today’s announcement Mukesh Ambani now controls Eenadu TV and the Network18 Group with an indirect finger in NDTV. That is about 30 channels across entertainment and news segments in English and regional languages
In his second move to enter into media and entertainment, Mukesh Ambani, the richest person in India, finally made his intentions clear. In a deal that may appear complicated to a lay person, Independent Media Trust, a trust set up by Mukesh Ambani's flagship Reliance Industries (RIL) has agreed to fund promoters of both Network18 Media and Investments (Network18) and TV18 Broadcast (TV18) to subscribe to the proposed rights issue of these companies. Last month, Moneylife had reported about Mr Ambani's interest in the debt-ridden Network 18 Group.
According to a media release issued by RIL, Raghav Bahl, the promoter of Network18 and TV18, and his team would continue to have full operational and management control of both the companies. Network18 Media and Investments, the holding company for the conglomerate, has annual revenue of about Rs1,500 crore but makes losses. The Network18 Group is up to its neck in debt and was apparently talking with Thomson Reuters to sell a 26% stake in Newswire18, a real-time financial news agency.
"The Promoter Companies of Network18 and TV18 and the Trust have entered into a Term Sheet under which the Trust would be subscribing to the Optionally Convertible Debentures (OCDs) to be issued by the Promoter Companies. Reliance will leverage its deep understanding of the Indian markets—consumer insights, technological expertise, and the ability to build & manage scale—to make this a "win-win" partnership. This will create value and be accretive to the shareholders of RIL," the Mukesh Ambani group company said in a press release.
This is the first part of the deal. In the second part, Infotel Broadband Services (Infotel), a unit of RIL, has signed a memorandum of understanding with both, TV18 and Network18 for preferential access to distribute all contents of the media group companies through its fourth-generation (4G) broadband network. As per the agreement, RIL would divest part of its interest in Eenadu TV (ETV) channels to TV18.
Both Network18 and TV18 are raising funds worth Rs2,700 crore each through rights issues. Network18, the promoter and majority shareholder in TV18 would subscribe to around Rs1,400 crore out of the total Rs5,400 crore rights issue. "The contribution of the current promoter entities of Network18 in this net aggregate rights issue of both Network18 and TV18 will be about Rs1,700 crore, the companies said in a release to the stock exchanges.
ETV owned by Ramoji Rao has a bouquet of vernacular channels and some of the language channels enjoy top position in that region. Earlier, RIL had admitted that the company and its group companies invested Rs2,600 crore in Ushodaya Enterprises, the holding company of ETV channels.
At present, RIL holds 100% interest in regional news channels such as ETV Uttar Pradesh, ETV Madhya Pradesh, ETV Rajasthan, ETV Bihar and ETV Urdu channel, and entertainment channels like ETV Marathi, ETV Kannada, ETV Bangla, ETV Gujarati and ETV Oriya. RIL also holds 49% interest in ETV Telugu and ETV Telugu News, through its investment.
The Mukesh Ambani group has divested its 100% interest in ETV news channels, 50% in entertainment channels and 24.5% interest in Telugu channels to TV18.
According to media reports, billionaire Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest person has also been holding talks with a host of media and entertainment firms, including Walt Disney’s Indian venture UTV Software, to acquire content for its upcoming telecom venture. US-based Walt Disney holds over 50% stake in UTV Software Communications and it is in process of acquiring the entire stake in the Indian firm. A deal with Walt Disney would give RIL’s telecom venture access to a host of games, entertainment and other children-focussed content solutions.
RIL has a 95% stake in Infotel Broadband Services, marking its entry into the telecom sector. Infotel is the only company to have pan-India BWA (Broadband Wireless Access) licence.
More than two decades ago Reliance had made a bid to enter the media by buying the Observer newspaper which it ran half-heartedly and closed down. Anil Ambani, the estranged and debt-strapped younger brother of Mukesh was leading that effort. The ADAG group controlled by Anil Ambani has large stakes in TV Today and other media companies.
The Network 18 Group comprises a variety of television, print, web and entertainment properties most of which are losing money. Its main properties are collaborations with top media companies such as CNBC, CNN, MTV and Viacom.
Preventive health check up is good but buying and selling ‘check-up’ plans purely to earn commissions and other incentives is nothing but part of the infamous ‘get-rich-quick’ type MLMs
Healthcare sector, with the development of modern medicine and rising household income, is surely a promising one in India. Obviously the many multi level marketing (MLM) companies also want to bet on this prosperous sector. Indus Health Plus is one such company, which already claims of having 2 lakh members. With its head quarter in Pune, Indus has an office in Delhi and consumer grievance cells in other metros.
On its website, the company says, “Indus offers exciting commissions for distributors that include compensations for both direct sales as well as indirect (through down line customer-distributors (CDs) who form your network) sales.”
While the idea of selling health check up plans may not be a bad one, but such things need big infrastructure and systems in place, which Indus does not have. For example, for a city like Mumbai, the company has listed only eight hospitals for its preventive health checkups. In addition, how many times, one would need the medical tests and checkups, some of which may not be even required on routine basis. Moreover there are no details about how many people had actually used its facilities for health checkups and how many are using it only to earn more income.
The company has a ‘simple’ looking business plan. To begin with, one has to buy any of the four preventive healthcare packages from Indus Health Plus to become a customer distributor. The distributor, after recruiting more people and widening his network becomes eligible for incomes, commissions and other incentives.
The four preventive healthcare packages include, Essential Care Health Checkup (EsCP) Package, Early Care Health Checkup Package, Exclusive Health Checkup Package and Exclusive and Comprehensive Health Checkup Package- ranging from Rs2,995 to Rs16,950. For instance, EsCP include medical check up, laboratory workup, chest X-ray, gynaecology consultation and 2D echo cardiograph among others.
There also an personal accident policy on these packages, giving coverage between Rs50,000 to Rs2lakh, depending on the package.
This network marketing company has Silver and Gold Card- offering discounts for various medical tests. For example, Silver card is given free to clients who have bought any of the health check up packages. Indus says that, “It (Silver Card) entitles the card holder sizeable discounts on OPD, pharma, diagnostics and IP - areas normally not covered by medical insurance.”
Indus promises distribution income solely on the basis of selling the product. The incentive payment starts from Rs500 and go up to Rs10,000 on achieving certain targets. Then there is renewal plan, where the distributor gets some perks and benefit on renewing the package by his down line.
As the network is widened, the top members reach to a different level. So business distributor is on level 1 and goes till gold star distributor which is on level 9, provided certain targets are achieved. Indus gives certain reward on each level. For instance for direct or business distributor is given Rs4,000 where on gold star distributor is given holiday package worth Rs4 lakh.
Experts point out that business model is of typical MLM and could collapse over a period of time. In fact there are certain grey areas in the business itself. For instance a person buying the product may not be in the need to get all the tests done.
Using the necessary software, anyone can book train ticket from the mobile phone and say goodbye to long queues
Indian Railways has introduced a system to make train ticket bookings easily available on mobile phones. Those who wish book the ticket on mobile phone can visit Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation’s website (IRCTC) and download the necessary software or application in his handset.
A mobile application or software can be downloaded for free from the website of IRCTC, which is essential for booking the ticket on mobile. It says, “Application software has to be downloaded on to the mobile handset. This software is provided by the respective service providers like atom Technologies, ngpay and PayMate. The application can be downloaded from IRCTC and these companies’ sites. IRCTC is also likely to launch its own mobile application shortly and the software will be downloadable from www.irctc.co.in.”
The passenger has to register for the first transaction and later the same name user ID and password can be used for future booking. This mobile railway ticket booking service is based on the web services model developed by the IRCTC in order to enable the mobile phone users to access the web based rail ticket reservation and enquiry services similar to www.irctc.co.in.
The release said that the, “The customer is charged ticket fare, IRCTC service charge and Agent service charge (Rs.10/- & Rs.20/- as per class of tickets) and applicable payment gateway charges. Service Charge is similar to e-tickets Rs.10/- for SL class and Rs.20/- for other higher class.”
Once the booking is completed, “the passenger will receive a reservation message with full details of the ticket including PNR, train No, date of journey, class and this virtual message would be treated at par with the print-out of the e-ticket… Showing the reservation message of the confirmed ticket on their mobile during travel will be sufficient.” said the Indian Railways in a release.