Disney’s India division is about to be acquired by Reliance Industries in a cash and stock deal. Instead of splitting up the company, it has chosen to sell its interests in India to Reliance, its main rival. The success of Reliance Industries’ streaming service Jio Cinema has also had an impact on the U.S. company’s business, according to Reliance Industries owner Mukesh Ambani. Disney has been looking into opportunities for selling or partnering with its India-related properties. Additionally, it had discussions with billionaires Kalanithi Maran, owner of Sun TV Network, and Gautam Adani, as well as Blackstone, a private equity firm.
Disney – Reliance Cash and Stock Deal
Instead of the piecemeal transaction previously considered, the American entertainment behemoth may sell a controlling interest in the Disney Star company, which it values at about $10 billion. Reliance, meanwhile, values the assets at $7 billion to $8 billion. The possibilities that Disney was previously considering included the purchase of all of its assets, including sports rights and regional streaming service Disney+ Hotstar, alone or in combination. Some of Reliance’s media divisions might be combined into Disney Star as early as next month, following the announcement of the deal. Additionally, even after any cash and stock transfer deals are finished, Disney is expected to have a small ownership interest. Disney receives broadcast and streaming rights to the IPL competition, a plethora of multilingual TV channels, and an investment in a Bollywood film production firm as part of the transaction, which is essential to the corporation’s global streaming expansion.
Disney’s India operations
Star India and the Disney+ Hotstar streaming service make up Disney’s Indian operations. It had the highest user count last year on a global scale. Disney has attempted to turn around the fortunes of its streaming business in India. However, subscriber withdrawals are quickening. Disney is banking that the move will increase advertising revenue. Disney Star has battled with declining subscriber numbers, but the media company has continued to spend and hasn’t given up on the market. Other options for the company have been considered, such as a direct sale or the formation of a joint venture.
Disney subscribers shifting to Jio
Disney’s Hotstar is presently streaming the current cricket World Cup to mobile fans for free in an effort to regain members after losing approximately 20 million subscribers this year. Customers rushed to Jio Cinema since it was a free place to watch IPL games. Nevertheless, Disney has recaptured the world record for on-demand video streaming from Jio Cinema after drawing 35 million concurrent viewers to a cricket match using the Disney streamer app.
Jio Cinema’s rise to popularity
Disney’s streaming activities in India are under increased pressure from Jio Cinema. The negotiations serve as an example of Ambani’s disruption of India’s entertainment sector. It comes after he paid $2.7 billion in 2022 for the streaming rights to the IPL. The cricket event was earlier this year televised for free on the billionaire’s Jio Cinema platform. Then, Reliance achieved another victory when it obtained a multi-year deal to stream HBO programming produced by Warner Bros. Discovery in India. Any potential agreement with Reliance will benefit Viacom18, a joint venture with Paramount Global. Sports has been one of Viacom18’s primary focus areas, and it has developed a strong portfolio there that includes a number of extremely well-liked titles.