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RIL, Walt Disney form JV to merge Indian streaming, TV assets

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has announced a monumental joint venture (JV) with C

RIL foraying into data centre space

RIL, Walt Disney form JV to merge Indian streaming, TV assets

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has announced a monumental joint venture (JV) with The Walt Disney Company, marking a significant move to amalgamate their streaming and TV assets within the Indian market. The JV, valued at Rs 70,352 crore, underscores RIL's strategic positioning in one of the world's rapidly expanding media and entertainment landscapes.

Nita Ambani is slated to assume the role of Chairperson of the JV, accompanied by Uday Shankar as Vice Chairperson. As part of its growth strategy, RIL has committed to investing Rs 11,500 crore in the venture.

Through its subsidiary Viacom18 and independently, RIL will hold a controlling interest in the JV, formed through the integration of Viacom18 and Disney's India entity, Star India. The transaction, subject to regulatory and customary approvals, is anticipated to conclude either in the final quarter of 2024 or the initial quarter of 2025.

The merger values Star India at approximately $3.5 billion, a considerable reduction from its initial valuation of over $8 billion. This collaboration positions RIL as a dominant force in the industry, combining numerous TV channels, streaming platforms like JioCinema and Hotstar, along with an extensive library of content from the Walt Disney portfolio.

Mukesh D Ambani, Chairman & Managing Director of Reliance Industries, expressed enthusiasm about the agreement, highlighting its transformative potential in the Indian entertainment sector. He emphasized the synergy between Reliance and Disney, aimed at delivering high-quality content to Indian audiences at competitive prices.

Bob Iger, CEO of Walt Disney, lauded Reliance's understanding of the Indian market and consumers. He envisaged the JV as a platform to offer a diverse range of digital services, entertainment, and sports content, thereby enhancing consumer experience.

The JV will enjoy exclusive rights to distribute Disney's films and productions in India, alongside access to a vast repository of Disney content assets. With 120 television channels and streaming services collectively, Reliance and Disney aim to fortify their presence in India's $28 billion media and entertainment sector.

Uday Shankar, Co-founder of Bodhi Tree Systems, expressed gratitude for strengthening ties with Reliance and welcoming Disney as a global leader in media & entertainment. The collaboration aspires to deliver exceptional value to audiences, advertisers, and partners, propelling India towards becoming a global exemplar in digital entertainment.

In summary, the RIL-Disney JV signals a landmark agreement poised to reshape India's entertainment landscape, leveraging the combined strengths of two industry giants.

Dwaipayan Bhattacharjee
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