Disney has reportedly held preliminary talks with potential buyers for its India streaming and television business. Among the potential suitors is billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries. The discussions have covered various options, ranging from a complete sale of the Disney Star business to a piecemeal transaction that could involve certain assets such as sports rights and the regional streaming service, Disney+ Hotstar.
After losing the streaming rights to the Indian Premier League cricket tournament to Viacom18, a joint venture between Paramount Global and Reliance, Disney has been evaluating strategic options for its India business. One possibility is an outright sale, while another is the establishment of a joint venture. Bloomberg News previously reported on these deliberations in July.
The discussions between Disney and potential buyers are still ongoing, but there is no guarantee that a deal will be reached. The information provided comes from sources who prefer to remain anonymous due to the private nature of the discussions. It is important to note that Disney could ultimately decide to retain the assets for a longer period if no suitable agreement is reached.
When approached for comment, a representative from Disney declined to provide any statement regarding the matter. Similarly, a spokesperson for Reliance stated that the company continuously evaluates opportunities but did not offer any further comments.
Although Disney Star has experienced a decline in subscriber numbers due to the loss of IPL streaming rights, it still holds the television rights for cricket until 2027. Last year, Disney agreed to license TV rights for International Cricket Council men’s matches to ZEE Entertainment for four years, while Disney+ Hotstar retained the digital rights. On the other hand, JioCinema, the streaming service backed by Reliance, achieved a record of 32 million concurrent viewers during the IPL final in May. The streaming venture has also begun charging for certain content after securing the exclusive streaming rights for Warner Bros. Discovery’s content in India.
The potential sale of Disney’s India streaming and television business is being explored through preliminary talks with potential buyers, including Reliance Industries. Disney is considering various strategic options, but the outcome of the discussions is uncertain. While Disney Star has faced challenges in recent times, it still retains significant television rights for cricket. The ongoing discussions between Disney and potential buyers will determine the future of the business.