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The Indian media landscape is set for a major shakeup as Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and The Walt Disney Company join forces to create a formidable joint venture valued at ₹70,352. This strategic merger will combine the strengths of Star India, owned by Disney, with Viacom18, a media conglomerate backed by RIL.

What does the Reliance and Disney JV mean?

This landmark deal will create a media powerhouse with a dominant position in the Indian market. Here's how it will likely impact the industry:

  • Market Consolidation: The combined entity will hold a significant market share across television, streaming services, and content creation. This consolidation could lead to a more streamlined media landscape in India.
  • Enhanced Content Offering: The merger brings together Disney's vast library of global content with Viacom18's strong presence in regional Indian entertainment. This could lead to a wider variety of content for viewers, catering to diverse preferences.
  • Increased Competition: While the merged entity will be a major player, it will still face competition from existing players like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and other regional content providers. This can potentially lead to a more competitive content creation environment, potentially benefiting viewers with better quality and variety.

Details of the Reliance-Disney JV

  • Investment and Ownership: Reliance Industries will invest ₹11,500 crore in the joint venture as part of a growth strategy. Post-merger, RIL will have a controlling stake with:

    • 16.34% direct ownership
    • 46.82% indirect ownership through Viacom18

  • Disney's Stake: Disney will hold the remaining 36.84% stake.
  • Valuation and Approvals: The transaction values the joint venture at ₹70,352 crore on a post-money basis, excluding synergies. Regulatory and third-party approvals are pending, and Disney may inject additional media assets.
  • Leadership and Viewership: Nita Ambani will be the chairperson, while Uday Shankar will be the vice chairperson, providing strategic guidance. The combined JioCinema and Hotstar platform will reach over 750 million viewers across India and the diaspora.
  • Timeline: The completion of the merger is expected in the last quarter of 2024 or the first quarter of 2025.

Looking forward

The Reliance-Disney joint venture is a significant development with far-reaching implications for the Indian media landscape. While the full impact remains to be seen, it has the potential to reshape the industry, offering both opportunities and challenges for viewers, content creators, and competitors alike. It will be interesting to see how this "media marriage" unfolds and how it shapes the future of entertainment in India.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered financial advice.

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