Reliance MediaWorks, the Mumbai-based entertainment company that partnered with China's Galloping Horse last month to acquire Digital Domain, is bulking up its business in LA, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.
In recent years, Reliance — whose parent company is Reliance Group, an Indian conglomerate controlled by billionaire Anil Ambani —has also acquired Burbank digital film restoration company Lowry Digital, launched a U.S. regional theater chain that screens Bollywood movies, and provided key financing for DreamWorks Studios.
“We truly believe that core of this business is in California and that our presence needs to be expanded here,” said Venkatesh Roddam, who is in charge of Reliance MediaWorks' film and media services business and is reportedly moving to the company's Burbank offices, along with a handful of other Reliance executives, to boost its U.S. operations. “It's not a business that can be treated like the IT business. You have to be physically close to where the customers are.”
Roddam, formerly a senior banking executive with Deutsche Bank, said he wants to expand Reliance's Burbank office, which employs about 75 people, and open a studio in New York. He was appointed by Reliance's board as part of a restructuring that led to the resignation of then-CEO Anil Arjun in August. The company said in a filing that the changes were part of an effort to boost revenues that have been offset in recent years by heavy investments in new facilities in Mumbai, where it owns eight soundstages, and Britain.