Reliance-Disney India media merger will control 85% of streaming, half of TV audience


THE merger of Indian media assets of Reliance, its Viacom18 portfolio and Disney will create an entity that will capture 85% of the country’s on-demand streaming service audience and about half of the viewers, analysts said, posing greater challenges for Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video, Apple , Sony and Zee.

The merger, which is expected to be completed by March 2025, will hold the exclusive digital and broadcast rights to some of the key sporting events, including the popular IPL cricket tournament for the next four years, ICC flagship events, cricket Indian national and the FIFA World Cup. , Premier League and Wimbledon.

Streaming of cricket matches has been the main driver of new users of streaming platforms in India. By get many cricket rightsDisney and JioCinema have left competing services with minimal content options to attract fans.

“The new combined entity acquires both digital and television rights to major cricket sporting events in India, such as IPL and ICC matches,” Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in a note on Thursday.

“The IPL 2023-27 broadcast is now under the JV – Viacom 18 owns the digital broadcast rights (won for $2.9 billion) while Star owns the TV broadcast rights for $2.8 billion. During IPL 2023, JioCinema streamed matches for free for all users, which impacted Hotstar’s revenue. However, with the JV structure, we could see significantly better profitability.

Data and images: Bernstein

The merged unit will also have exclusive access in India to Disney films and productions as well as the mouse company’s vast catalog of 30,000 pieces of content, the two companies said. It will also be the digital home for content from HBO, Warner Bros, Showtime and NBCUniversal.

Bernstein analysts estimate that the combined operations of Disney’s Hotstar and JioCinema will take leadership in the OTT market in India, with approximately 85% monthly active OTT user base.

Data, images: BofA

Star, part of Disney’s ownership in India, controls 41% of the broadcast market in India. Combined with the approximately 8% of the television market that Viacom18 assumes in India, the merged operations – which will include more than 100 television channels – will control approximately 49% of the broadcasting market.

The two companies will have 56% of the country’s Hindi TV audience, according to an analysis by Bank of America analysts.


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