OTT War Begins In India: Reliance, Adani Group, Netflix & Prime All Set To Fight For Dominance
The richest men in the country Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani worth billions of dollars are now trying to capture a billion viewers.
They are starting to realise their ambitions of entering India’s media sector.
Their arrival with their respective media companies will heat up the competition in the OTT space which is home to Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Ambani’s local joint venture with Paramount Global, Viacom18 Media will receive 135 billion rupees ($1.8 billion) in a funding round led by James Murdoch-backed Bodhi Tree Systems.
Bodhi Tree was formed by Murdoch and Uday Shankar, the former chief of Star India and later Disney Asia.
It counts Qatar Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar as an investor.
Bodhi Tree’s investment also brings in the Murdoch family once again to the entertainment market which it had left when Walt Disney Co. took over a swath of 21st Century Fox assets, including Star India, in 2019.
Disney now owns Hotstar which currently streams the IPL.
Adani’s main company Adani Enterprises has said that it has also established a new media subsidiary.
The difference between the two is that Ambani’s Reliance Industries is expanding its presence in the Indian media sector while Adani is new to the game.
Last month, Adani Media Ventures agreed to buy a stake in Quintillion Business Media which is the Indian partner of Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News.
Who Gets IPL?
Viacom18, spurred by the 1.8 billion from Bodhi Tree and an additional $216 million from a Reliance arm, is all set to face off against Disney, Amazon and Sony Group Corp. for broadcast rights of Indian Premier League.
IPL is the golden goose that keeps on giving- its previous year edition pulled in 380 million viewers.
So whichever company is lucky enough to get the streaming rights for the tournament will likely hit the jackpot and secure millions of new subscribers in a highly competitive market.
New Player In The Space
The Adani group said that it incorporated AMG Media Networks which focuses on publishing, advertising, broadcasting and distributing content over different types of media networks.
There is yet another emerging player in the market.
Late last year, Sony and Zee Entertainment Enterprises agreed to a merger that would create a media behemoth valued at about $10 billion.
The Indian market holds a lot of promises and potential, being the “only full-scale, high-growth opportunity in Asia outside of China,” said Vivek Couto, executive director at Media Partners Asia.
The dynamic market is held up by a robust local film industry, a growing middle class and rapidly expanding access to the internet.
However, it is also a tough one to crack, Netflix being the key example which has had to cut its fees to lure price-conscious users.