Reliance-Disney India Merger To Dominate Streaming And TV Audience In India


The merger of Indian media assets of Reliance, its portfolio Viacom18, and Disney is set to create a powerhouse that will dominate the country’s on-demand streaming service audience and a significant portion of the TV viewership. Analysts have projected that this move will pose substantial challenges to major players such as Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video, Apple, Sony, and Zee.

Key Takeaway

The merger of Indian media assets of Reliance, Viacom18, and Disney is poised to create a dominant force in the country’s streaming and TV landscape, with exclusive rights to key sporting events and a vast content catalog.

The Impact on Streaming Services

With the merger expected to be finalized by March 2025, the new entity will secure exclusive digital and broadcast rights to a range of key sporting events. This includes the next four years of popular cricket tournament IPL, flagship ICC events, domestic Indian cricket, FIFA World Cup, Premier League, and Wimbledon. The acquisition of these rights is significant as cricket match streaming has been a major driver of new users for streaming platforms in India. By obtaining these rights, Disney and Reliance are set to limit the content options available to rival services, making it more challenging for them to attract fans.

Exclusive Content and Market Leadership

The merged unit will also have exclusive access to Disney’s movies and productions, along with a wide catalog of 30,000 content. Additionally, it will serve as the digital home for content from HBO, Warner Bros, Showtime, and NBCUniversal. Analysts have estimated that the combined operations of Disney’s Hotstar and JioCinema will lead the India OTT market with approximately 85% monthly active OTT user base.

Dominance in Broadcasting Market

Star, a part of Disney’s India property, currently commands 41% of the broadcast market in India. When combined with Viacom18’s 8% share of the TV market, the merged operations, featuring around 120 TV channels, will hold about 49% of the broadcasting market. Furthermore, the two firms are projected to capture 56% of the Hindi-speaking TV audience in the country. Disney and Reliance have announced that the merged entity will reach 750 million users in India, solidifying its position as a dominant force in the Indian media landscape.

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