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Reliance to form a JV to absorb Disney’s India operations

14 Dec 2023

RIL will take a 51% stake in the upcoming unit under Viacom18 and merge Star India’s media operations.

Reliance Industries will likely pick up a 51% stake in a new unit coming up under Viacom18 in possibly an all cash deal; Disney will hold a 49% stake in the new entity. The new unit will absorb Disney’s Star India media operations through a share swap deal. Disney’s India assets include the Disney+Hotstar OTT platform and Star India. Viacom18 currently runs the JioCinema streaming platform.

Earlier, Reliance battled Disney to offer free streaming of IPL 2023. This move catapulted JioCinema to the #1 position as the most downloaded app in the country by May 2023, compared to the 13th rank in May 2022.

Reliance also bought the rights to various movies and shows by global networks like HBO, NBC, and Warner Bros. It aims to build a platform with audience volumes bigger than television. It wants to become India’s foremost digital group and is not competing with other OTTs.

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