Audiences of OTT platforms may soon be able to get a new experience of watching their favourite shows and movies online. If everything goes right, Jio Cinema will merge with Disney+Hotstar.
The OTT service of Reliance is a direct rival of Disney and Hotstar. Disney has failed to sign an agreement with HBO and WBD to show their content on its platform. On the other hand, Jio Cinema gained success in this. It offers IPL matches free of cost to its viewers. This is a big achievement for the Reliance.
Jio Cinema Signs a Deal With Disney+Hotstar
The merger is exciting news for OTT viewers because that is going to offer a unique facility for both platforms on a single entity. The announcement to merge Jio Cinema which is owned by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance with international OTT provider Disney+Hotstar is a major change in the online over-the-top services. The former has a non-binding deal with the latter to integrate their media operations for India. This is making the mega-merger almost like a reality.
Merger of Jio Cinema to be Finalised in Feb 2024
It may take some time to finalise the agreement and both parties are expected to finalise it by February 2024. Reliance will complete the procedure of the agreement by the time the month of January next year ends and if it gets legal permission and approvals.
Reliance will have greater control over the combined OTT platform that will emerge from the merger. According to the Economic Times, Reliance is expected to get 51% ownership in the merged entity. It will get ownership via shares and cash. On the other hand, Disney will get a 49% share in the ownership.
Officials Met in London for Further Discussions
The officials of Reliance and Disney have conducted meetings in London. They are in the process of discussing the steps they need to take in the future to materialise the agreement. The executives plan to form a unit that will operate under Reliance’s Viacom18. This unit will aim to grab control of Star India. This will be done by exchanging stock. The OTT platforms will invest $1-1.5 billion in this project. The merged entity will have the same number of directors belonging to both parties.
The Merger Will Form the Biggest OTT Platform in India
In case both companies can get the deal through and acquire regulatory approvals, the merged unit will be the biggest entertainment service for India. It will be competing with other OTT platforms like international entertainment services like Amazon Prime and Netflix. It will also compete with Zee and Sony.