Disney, in a massive takeover, is all set to buy a large chunk of 21st Century Fox at a price of $52.4 billion. The buyout will give the Walt Disney Co a new push in the Indian market. Through the deal, the company will be able to distribute its content on Star India which operates 69 television channels in the country with a massive viewership of 720 million per month.
Apart from the channels, the Rupert Murdoch group also operates the Hotstar streaming service in India which would give Disney exposure to streaming a wide range of programs and sports content. “It is an amazing opportunity to get into the best developing market in the world,” MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson said, “but it is highly competitive.”
Disney has already announced that it is launching two streaming services by the end of 2019, and it will emerge as another player in the Indian market where Netflix and Amazon Prime has seen growth in the recent past. Mobile video traffic in India is expected to grow at an annual rate of 68 per cent between 2016 and 2021, according to KPMG. India also has the second-largest subscription TV market in Asia, with 154 million households in 2016, according to consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers, the projected number will grow to 167 million in 2021.
The company will also have a larger role to play in the Indian film industry, where it has invested in the past through UTV. The company could plan to return to the local language market, at present Disney promotes Hollywood movies in the country. Prem Parameswaran, chief executive of North America for Eros International Plc says, “Disney could now have the ability to create films and offer them exclusively to their viewers, rather than through the box office,” he said. “There are a lot of synergies here.”
(With inputs from Reuters)