Walt Disney Explores Potential Buyers for its India Streaming and TV Business

Walt Disney is reportedly in preliminary talks with potential buyers for its streaming and television business in India. One of the potential buyers includes billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries. According to sources familiar with the matter, Disney has engaged in discussions with potential suitors about various options, ranging from a full sale of its Disney Star business to a partial transaction that may involve some of its assets like sports rights and regional streaming service Disney+ Hotstar.

This move comes after Disney considered strategic options for the business, including an outright sale or the establishment of a joint venture. The discussions were initiated by Disney when it lost its streaming rights to the highly popular Indian Premier League cricket tournament to Viacom18, a collaboration between Paramount Global and Reliance. At that time, Disney had approached Reliance about a potential stake in its business.

The talks between Disney and potential buyers are ongoing, but there is no guarantee that they will result in a definitive deal. The sources, who asked not to be identified, commented that these discussions may not lead to any transaction, and Disney could decide to retain the assets for a longer period. A representative for Disney declined to comment on these reports while Reliance said that it evaluates various opportunities but will disclose information when necessary.

Despite experiencing a decline in subscriber numbers following the loss of IPL streaming rights, Disney Star has not completely relinquished its cricket business. It has secured the television rights for cricket matches until 2027. Last year, Disney+ Hotstar agreed to license the TV rights for International Cricket Council men’s matches to ZEE Entertainment, while retaining the digital rights.

Reliance-backed streaming service, JioCinema, achieved a significant milestone with a record 32 million concurrent viewers in May for the IPL final, which was available for free on the platform. Since then, the venture has begun charging for some content as it signed a multi-year agreement to stream Warner Bros. Discovery’s exclusive content in India. This move indicates Reliance’s expansion into offering exclusive content and monetizing its streaming service.

Walt Disney’s India streaming and television business is exploring potential buyers, with Reliance Industries being one of them. The discussions could result in a full or partial sale of Disney’s assets, including its regional streaming service and sports rights. However, it is important to note that these talks are ongoing, and there is no guarantee that they will lead to a definitive deal. Despite its declining subscriber numbers, Disney Star continues to retain the cricket business and has secured television rights until 2027. On the other hand, Reliance’s JioCinema has shown significant growth and expansion by attracting a massive viewership for the IPL final and venturing into exclusive content streaming. Only time will tell the outcome of these discussions and the future direction of Disney’s India streaming and television business.


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