Reliance, Disney Announce Joint Venture to Merge Digital Streaming and TV Assets in India

Reliance and Disney on Wednesday announced a strategic joint venture that will merge their digital streaming and television assets in India. The merger will result in Reliance combining the businesses of Viacom18 and Star India into a single unit called Star India Private Limited (SIPL) through a court-approved scheme of arrangement. Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) will control 16.34 percent of the joint venture, whereas the other two parties, Viacom18 and Disney, will control 46.82 percent and 36.84 percent, respectively.

Reliance has also agreed to invest Rs. 11,500 crore in the venture which will be used to determine its growth strategy. The stakeholders have stated that the transaction values the joint venture at Rs. 70,352 crore on a post-money basis. The Chairperson of the new business unit will be Nita Ambani and Uday Shankar, the Co-Founder of Bodhi Tree Systems, will hold the position of Vice Chairperson and offer strategic advice. This merger is also expected to unite two of India’s leading digital streaming platforms — JioCinema and Disney+ Hotstar.

Disney will provide content licenses to the joint venture and bring its large catalogue of films and shows to the platform. Additionally, the company will also grant exclusive rights to distribute Disney films and productions in India, with a licence to more than 30,000 Disney content assets. Further, the Hollywood giant could also contribute additional media assets to the JV, however, those are subject to regulatory and third-party approvals.

Viacom18 and Star India will offer their domestic and global catalogues as well as sports live-streaming services to the joint venture. In the press release, Reliance said the venture will aim to lead the digital transformation of the media and entertainment industry in India and offer high-quality and comprehensive content.

Calling it a “landmark agreement”, Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries said, “We have always respected Disney as the best media group globally and are very excited at forming this strategic joint venture that will help us pool our extensive resources, creative prowess, and market insights to deliver unparalleled content at affordable prices to audiences across the nation.” The transaction, which is currently subject to regulatory and other approvals, is expected to be completed by the end of the ongoing year, or by the first quarter of 2025.


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