Reliance-Disney JV to Challenge Rivals in Media and Entertainment Business

The proposed $8.5 deal to merge television and streaming media business of Reliance Industries and Walt Disney India will challenge rivals, Reuters news report said.
streaming platformsThe new entity is poised to possess a formidable arsenal comprising 120 TV channels and two streaming platforms. With ambitions to rival competitors like Japan’s Sony and Netflix, the merger comes amidst projections of a burgeoning media and entertainment sector in India, anticipated to reach $100 billion by the decade’s end.

India’s Entertainment & Media industry is expected to reach $73.6 billion by 2027 at 9.7 percent CAGR, according to PwC’s Global Entertainment & Media Outlook Global Entertainment & Media Outlook.

The news of the merger comes against the backdrop of an evolving landscape in India’s media industry, characterized by strategic alliances and intensifying competition. Notably, Zee Entertainment, a stalwart in the Indian media landscape, faced setbacks earlier this year when a proposed $10 billion merger with Sony Group was aborted, citing unresolved issues and leadership conflicts.

Meanwhile, Sony India continues its robust operations, boasting 26 channels spanning a spectrum from general entertainment to sports and movies. With a reach extending to 700 million viewers domestically and availability in 167 countries, Sony’s subsidiary, Sony Pictures Networks India, remains a formidable player in the market. Additionally, Sony maintains its presence in the digital realm through the popular streaming platform Sony LIV.

Netflix, another major player, underscores the significance of the Indian market, envisioning substantial growth potential. With plans to expand its subscriber base from the current 10 million to a projected 100 million, Netflix’s Co-CEO Ted Sarandos has emphasized the strategic importance of India in the company’s global growth trajectory.

Amazon Prime Video, estimated to have approximately 20 million users in India, diversifies its offerings through its aggregation service, Channels, which provides access to a plethora of global and local streaming services.

Meanwhile, Bennett Coleman and Company (Times Group), with its century-long legacy, remains a stalwart with a diverse portfolio spanning broadcasting, publishing, radio, film, and entertainment in India.

In South India, Sun TV Network continues to assert its dominance with 35 TV channels across six languages, complemented by 69 FM radio stations and three daily newspapers.

In addition, there are several regional television channels with commanding market share in their respective markets. For instance, Malayala Manorama has a significant share in Kerala. India Today Group and NDTV have a strong presence in Hindi speaking states.