Investors pledge $2.16 billion to boost India’s Viacom18 into ‘streaming first’ company

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James Murdoch will become one of the major investors in an effort to expand India-based Viacom18.

Bodhi Tree Systems, which is backed by Murdoch’s Lupa Systems and Uday Shankar plan to infuse about $1.8 billion into Viacom18. James Murdoch is the son of News Corp. founder Rupert Murdoch.

Viacom18 is a major player in the India media scene and is a joint venture between Paramount Global and Mukesh Ambani’s Network18.

Bodhi, which was formed in February 2022, has backing from the Qatar Investment Authority and also plans to include other investors in the deal.

Paramount Global, which already owns 49% of Viacom18, has signed on as a content partner. Viacom18 already boasts around 75,000 hours of content, including contributions from Paramount.

Viacom18 already offers multiple channels under the Colors TV name in India as well as the streaming platform Voot.

Going forward, the companies hope to adopt a “streaming first” strategy.

Meanwhile, Reliance Projects & Property Management Services, which has holdings in the entertainment industry as well, has pledged $216 million toward Viacom18.