Reliance-Disney JV to dominate media business by 85%? Here’s how USD 8.5 billion merger will impact consumers

The Reliance-Disney merger is expected to bring several potential benefits to consumers in India, although it's important to note that the merger is still in process and the full impact remains to be seen.

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The much-awaited Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and Walt Disney Co's has created buzz in the media business industry. The two organizations are already in talks for the big joint venture. Walt Disney's India unit to create the country's largest media company valued at Rs 70,352 crore ($8.5 Billion).

Reliance will invest Rs 11,500 crore in the venture. As per sources, Reliance and Viacom18 holding a 63.16% stake, with 16.34% by RIL, 46.825 by Viacom18, with the rest by Disney.

RIL said in a statement on Wednesday that the two businesses had inked a legally-binding, final agreement to establish a joint venture that will integrate the television and digital streaming businesses of Viacom18 and Star India.

It is also anticipated that the merger will dominate the 85% of the media businesses, which is more than half and could pose big challenge to other platforms, like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Sony, Zee and others. 

How will Reliance-Disney merger will benefit the consumers?

The Reliance-Disney merger is expected to bring several potential benefits to consumers in India, although it's important to note that the merger is still in process and the full impact remains to be seen. Here are some potential benefits:

Increased content library

The merger combines the vast libraries of both companies, offering consumers a wider selection of movies, TV shows, and other content across various genres and languages. This could lead to a more diverse and engaging viewing experience.

Improved streaming experience

Both Reliance (JioCinema) and Disney (Disney+ Hotstar) are major streaming platforms in India. The merger could potentially lead to a unified platform with better features, user interface, and technological advancements for a smoother streaming experience.

Competitive pricing

With a larger market share, the merged entity might have more leverage to negotiate better deals with content creators, potentially leading to more competitive pricing for consumers.

Enhanced production value

The combined resources and expertise of both companies could lead to the production of higher-quality local content, potentially benefiting Indian viewers by offering them more visually appealing and engaging local productions.

However, it's important to note that there could be potential drawbacks to the deal, which consumer may face. With a larger market share, the merged entity could potentially have more power to dictate pricing and content offerings, potentially limiting consumer choice in the long run. While the overall content library might increase, there's a possibility that some niche content specific to either platform might be discontinued.