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Relativity And B4U Announce Joint Venture In India

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SOURCE Relativity Media

Companies to Create and Distribute Innovative Entertainment and Sports Content in India Across Film, Television and Digital Platforms

Partnership Will Strengthen Ties between Hollywood and Bollywood

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. and MUMBAI, India, May 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Festival De Cannes – Relativity Media ("Relativity"), a next-generation media company, and B4U, a leading Bollywood film and television network whose major shareholders include Lakshmi Mittal, Kishore Lulla, and Gokul Binani, announced today that the companies have formed a new joint venture that will leverage their combined expertise, relationships and resources to create and distribute highly-engaging long and short form entertainment and sports content in India that will span a variety of mediums including film, television and digital.

Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of Relativity Media, and Ishan Saksena, CEO of B4U

Rapid urbanization, multiplex growth and increasingly sophisticated production and marketing techniques continue to drive growth in the Indian content market.  Capitalizing on the significant growth potential of the Indian film and television markets, which are expected to reach revenues of INR 193.3 billion ($3.5 billion) and INR 848 billion ($15.3 billion) by 2017[1], respectively, the joint venture will provide an innovative platform for both Relativity and B4U to co-invest and distribute local Bollywood film and television productions.  In addition, the joint venture will distribute and market Relativity's films, beginning with the romantic drama The Best of Me, in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.

"This strategic partnership represents an exciting opportunity for Relativity to significantly expand our presence in this vibrant and growing marketplace while creating a bridge for developing and sharing content between Hollywood and Bollywood," said Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of Relativity.  "By 2020, India is set to become the world's youngest country, and its citizens are adopting new technology platforms  – from smartphones to smart TVs – at a dramatic rate.  We are especially excited to work with B4U and its impressive management team led by Ishan Saksena, and this joint venture positions us well to deliver enthralling content across rapidly emerging distribution channels."

Ishan Saksena, CEO of B4U, said: "B4U has always been at the helm for delivering Bollywood content in India and internationally.  This joint venture with Relativity is the natural step in our progression to build a creative film studio and unique technology platform.  Our joint venture provides a platform to bring the best of Relativity's intellectual property, production skills, and unique monetizing strategies to India, while also providing Indian talent access to global audiences.  Ryan's vision and leadership, combined with the Relativity management team's deep industry experience, makes them our ideal partners."

Joint Venture Structure

The newly formed joint venture will:

  • Distribute future Relativity films and other select entertainment content in India and the surrounding regions
  • Co-finance, co-produce and distribute Indian language films and television shows as well as acquire projects in the U.S. and Indian markets
  • Distribute third-party content in India and select Bollywood films in the U.S.
  • Create and launch a new pay television channel in India focused on Hollywood content in both English and Hindi
  • Launch "RelaTV" – a digital streaming technology platform to deliver compelling short and long form content to Indian consumers
  • Co-produce a slate of Hollywood films including The Best of Me

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed; however, the joint venture will have an investment of approximately $100 million available for projects.  The joint venture will be managed by B4U Chief Executive Officer Ishan Saksena and will be overseen by a Board of Directors, to which both companies will appoint two directors.

Upcoming Productions in India 

Relativity's romantic drama The Best of Me, based on the bestselling novel by acclaimed author Nicholas Sparks, and starring James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan, will be the first film to be distributed by the joint venture in India and will be released on October 17, 2014.

In addition, the joint venture will make Relativity's upcoming comedy – currently titled "Untitled Armored Car Project" and starring Owen Wilson and Zach Galifianakis in the U.S. – for  the Indian market with a Bollywood director and starring Bollywood talent.

In "Untitled Armored Car Project," David (Galifianakis) is unfulfilled in his life and unhappy with his work – driving the armored car bringing thousands of dollars to and from banks every day.  But when he's convinced to join in a far-fetched plan to rob a bank vault, David soon throws everything on the line for love, money and a life of excitement.  These inexperienced criminals, led by Steve (Wilson), somehow manage to nab nearly $20 million, only to then leave a glaring trail of evidence in their wake.  To make matters worse, David's accomplices double-cross him.  Now, in this comedy inspired by true events and directed by Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite), David will discover that the only thing tougher than pulling off the heist will be trying to turn the tables on those who betrayed him.

About Relativity
Relativity (www.relativitymedia.com) is a next-generation studio engaged in multiple aspects of entertainment, including film production; financing and distribution; television; sports management; music publishing; and digital media.

The studio has produced, distributed or structured financing for nearly 200 motion pictures, generating more than $17 billion in worldwide box office revenue and earning 60 Oscar® nominations.  Recent films include: Oculus, 3 Days to Kill, Safe Haven, Act of Valor and Immortals, the latter two opening number one at the box office in their debut.  Relativity's other films include the eight-time Oscar® nominee The Social Network as well as Limitless and two-time Oscar® winner The Fighter.  Upcoming films include Earth to Echo and Nicholas Sparks' The Best of Me.

Relativity Sports is the industry's fastest growing sports agency, providing more than 300 NBA, NFL and MLB athletes with services ranging from contract negotiation to custom film and television content production.  Relativity Television is one of the country's largest suppliers of unscripted television and has recently expanded to produce scripted series.

About B4U
Launching both B4U Movies and B4U Music in 1999, the network has been labeled as the foremost Asian channel to pioneer Bollywood and Indian Entertainment worldwide.  Since its inception, B4U has successfully created a brand with a strong momentum, across multiple platforms including TV, Cinema, Press, New Media and Digital.

Today B4U is a select top brand on Bollywood Entertainment, Culture and Lifestyle having been widely awarded with 9 Promax and Television awards for the quality of programming and televised shows.

B4U has been a household name, acting as the ambassador of, and allowing viewers worldwide to appreciate the high standard of entertainment it has to offer.  B4U has a presence in over 100 countries, and a potential audience reach of over 200 million viewers.  With an ever expanding viewer base and newer platforms, B4U is today clearly at the forefront of taking the magic of Indian entertainment and Bollywood worldwide.

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140516/88512

Media Contacts

Relativity:
David Shane
+1-310-724-7738 office
+1-310-601-0640 mobile
david.shane@relativitymedia.com.

Brunswick Group India for Relativity:
Khozem Merchant
+91 9820060485
kmerchant@brunswickgroup.com

B4U:
Venessa Roy
+ 91 22 40902486 office
+ 91 9820337062 mobile
venessa.roy@b4uworld.com

PSLive for B4U
Swati S. Sahasrabudhe
+91 9820590768 mobile
Swati.Sahasrabudhe@psliveglobal.com

[1] "The power of a billion: Realizing the Indian Dream", KPMG and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), 2013.

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