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Updated March 4th, 2024 at 18:36 IST

The Reliance-Disney Merger: What does it hold for you?

The $8.5 billion media merger will entail the coming together of JioCinema and Hotstar, and a host of television channels

Reported by: Business Desk
Reliance-Disney deal
Reliance-Disney deal | Image:Republic
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Merged Behemoth: The Reliance Group's media merger with the Walt Disney Group, announced this week, brings together two media conglomerates who once competed for cricket rights.

The Reliance-Disney JV, valued at $8.5 billion is expected to bring together streaming majors JioCinema and Hotstar. The merger will consolidate the operations of Viacom 18 with Disney, which had acquired the operations of 21st Century Fox in 2019.

 

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This comes after a $10 billion merger between Japanese technology company Sony Group's media unit and Zee Entertainment Enterprises was called off in January.

The JV, which will be helmed by Nita Ambani, will also see Reliance Industries pumping in Rs 11,500 crore in the merger. It is expected to be complete by March next year.

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For the viewers

In 2023, JioCinema pipped Disney+Hotstar to win the rights of the Indian Premier League. To further bolster its viewership, it streamed the matches for free and also rolled out a host of content to bring more viewers on its platform.

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The merger will bring together the content and sports libraries of the two platforms. It will amalgamate media brands Colours, Star Plus, Star GOLD, Star Sports and Sports18 under one roof. Positioned to bring 70 channels from Star India and 38 TV channels from Viacom 18 in eight languages.

It will also offer more to the Indian diaspora worldwide, and be positioned for reaching over 75 crore viewers in India itself.

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For Sports Lovers

The coming together of Reliance and Disney will be a delight for sports watchers who can enjoy the next four years of IPL on the merged entity. Apart from this,  viewers will be able to watch other flagship ICC events, as well as domestic Indian cricket.

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The partnership will also extend the scope of viewing to other sporting events like the coveted FIFA World Cup, and the Wimbeldon tournament for tennis fans.

More for more

The merger will bring access to over 30,000 Disney assets to subscribers of both the entities.

Analysts expect media costs to go up with the coming together of the media majors, and also highen their bargaining power in front of advertisers.|

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“The honeymoon period of Indian Subscriber will gradually come to an end. Subscriber rates both in digital and linear TV may go up,” Nuvama Institutional Equities Executive Director (Research) Abneesh Roy  was quoted as saying.

Similar to Zee-Sony

As the Competition Commission of India is expected to assess the merger as part of the overall TV landscape, some channels may have to be pulled down "in case of a big overlap, more within the general entertainment channels (GECs) genre,” Elara Capital senior vice-president, Karan Taurani  was quoted as saying.

This was similar to the instruction CCI had meted to Zee and Sony of divesting three General Entertainment Channels (GECs), as part of a conditional approval for their now called-off merger.

(With PTI Inputs)

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Published March 3rd, 2024 at 14:40 IST

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