Reliance and Disney Form Joint Venture

On February 29th 2024, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), Viacom18 Media Pvt Ltd and The Walt Disney Company signed agreements to create one of India’s largest TV and streaming firms. The joint venture merges Viacom18 with Disney’s Star India to target rapid growth in the country’s digital entertainment space.

Partners & Deal Dynamics

As per the binding pacts, TV18 Broadcast Limited, a subsidiary of RIL with a majority stake in Viacom18, will induct Disney as a strategic investor. This will be achieved by way of a merger of Viacom18 with Star India Private Limited – Disney’s Indian media hub.

Post the integration, RIL will invest INR 11,500 crore into the combined entity and hold a 51% stake. Disney will own 36.3%, with the remaining held by Paramount Global. The capital infusion is aimed at subsidizing content production and streaming platform expansion drives.

The joint venture will bring together Star India’s leading media networks, OTT platform Hotstar and renowned sports rights with Viacom18’s broadcast channels, digital assets and large movie library. According to industry estimates, the combined operation accounts for around 52% of TV audience and over 75% of streaming viewership share domestically.

Key Growth Plans

The merged entity looks to offer premium viewing options to over 900 million Indian TV and digital consumers. Leveraging the partner brands and IP, the JV aims to catalyze online video penetration – currently estimated to reach 600 million users by 2025.

Specific business priorities include increased investment in local productions and licensing of global content for Indian audiences across entertainment genres including movies, web-series and sports.

The company also looks to augment last-mile digital connectivity via Reliance Jio and scale up back-end infrastructure using 5G rollout. It also aims to establish a wider regional content portfolio beyond the main Hindi markets.

Regulatory Approvals

As outlined by RIL officials, Viacom18 and Star India will continue operating independently until closure of the transaction. Completion is subject to customary approvals and conditions, including a Scheme of Arrangement to be filed before National Company Law Tribunal.

Industry analysts project the deal will comfortably meet competition guidelines, given limited overlap currently between Star and Viacom18’s media operations. However, Disney’s departure from the Hindi entertainment space will reshape competitive dynamics of the high-growth broadcast and streaming industry.

Broader Market Impact

Experts have welcomed the deal as a game-changing consolidation that will step up much-needed investment in Indian entertainment. The options for quality content creation widens, benefitting consumers, talent and ancillary industries.

The partnership validates India’s standing as a priority media market with tremendous headroom for further growth, especially online. Building platforms with regional appeal and vernacular interfaces will enjoyable expand the internet user funnel.


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