Network18 to merge back-end ops of CNBC TV18, Awaaz

Network18, one of India's biggest media conglomerates, is re-organising the business broadcast operations of TV18, a group company.

The decision to merge the logistics, back-end and broadcast operations of CNBC TV18 and CNBC Awaaz, two business news channels, coincides with the completion of 10 years of CNBC TV18 and five years of CNBC Awaaz as stand-alone operations.

Both the channels will continue to maintain their distinct identities, but some of the overlapping operations at the back-end are being merged. The company expects to save approximately 20 per cent in annual operating costs via this restructuring.

This move follows the commitment under the TV18 rights offer to shareholders on the repayment of more than Rs300 crore of debt. The savings on interest and operational costs will lead to total reduction of approximately Rs65 crore in annual costs.

Haresh Chawla, group chief executive of Network18, said: ``CNBC TV18 and CNBC Awaaz have independently carved out a loyal niche for themselves and are undisputed leaders in the English and Hindi business news spaces. The two channels command the lion's share in the business news category, despite the onslaught of new offerings in the space.

"It is our belief that the next stage of growth and profitability of our business news operations will come from a more synergistic entity that combines the strength of two powerful and complementary brands. TV18 has already embarked on a path to financial restructuring as mentioned in the rights issue offer. Both these moves put together will make TV18 more robust in operating as well as financial terms."

The restructuring would create the country's largest business news infrastructure, spread across eight business bureaux and two broadcast hubs (Mumbai and Delhi), the company said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

"It is our belief that the next stage of growth and profitability of our business news operations will come from a more synergistic entity that combines the strength of two powerful and complementary brands," Chawla said.