The biggest deal so far in the Indian media industry. But it is another small part of the conglomerate called Reliance Industries. Why is there so much of a mixed opinion with the recent acquisition of Network18 Media by Reliance? While there seem to be many reasons to be worried about media independence, it also seems stretched. Here is a link giving reasons why media independence may die: http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghabahree/2014/05/30/reliance-takes-over-network18-is-this-the-death-of-media-independence/
Reliance has a heavy balance sheet, heavy with cash. Hence it is a big responsibility of its management to constantly seek new opportunities. Mukesh Ambani is known to be a very entrepreneurial businessman, trained personally by his dad, the legendary Indian Entrepreneur, Shri Dhirubhai Ambani. With the acquisition of the potential to launch 4G services across India (a few years ago), it was quite imminent that Reliance will need some solid content strategy. With data services expected to explode over the next decade, they have positioned themselves for this ride. So, in many ways it also seems like a interesting strategic fit for the company to have identified and picked up Network18. Here is another story showing how this deal happened: http://www.medianama.com/2014/05/223-how-reliance-industries-acquired-network18-a-detailed-timeline-of-events/
Reliance has had a competitive advantage – the ability to conceive of and implement large scale strategic projects on-time and within-costs. This makes the new 4G rollout best placed in their hands. While this will propel the data services industry to grow leaps and bounds, make people across India gain the power of information on their handsets, will it restrict the media to not speak its mind – only time will tell. But one thing that consumers can look forward to, is competitive rates for data usage in a market that seems to be exploiting consumers of information on their mobile sets. Reliance did that earlier with the launch of the mobile phone schemes; will they do it with the data revolution that is just about beginning?
Read, think and watch for only time will tell. But with more speed and possibly at a lower cost, people will be able to consume a lot more information and a lot more easily. Won’t that open up a lot more opportunities for entrepreneurs in the digital space?
Think about it!