Ambani | Netflix | Amazon: Adani, Ambani prepare for battle with Netflix, Amazon

The two richest men in Asia – Gautam Adani Other Mukesh Ambani – are doubling the Indian media sector, intensifying competition in an arena where Netflix Inc. and Inc. is also vying for over one billion viewers.

Viacom18 Media Pvt., Ambani’s local joint venture with Paramount Global, will receive 135 billion rupees ($ 1.8 billion) in a funding round led by Bodhi Tree Systems, backed by James Murdoch. Adani Enterprises Ltd., the mogul’s flagship company, separately stated that it has created a new media subsidiary, signaling its ambitions to tap into the growing market.

The investment in Viacom18 and Adani’s entry into the media mark a new phase in the battle for eyes and content in a market characterized by a strong local film industry, a growing middle class and rapidly expanding Internet access. But it also turned out to be a difficult market. Struggling to add subscribers, Netflix, for example, had to cut its rates to attract price-conscious users.

However, “India is the only large-scale growth opportunity in Asia outside of China,” said Vivek Couto, executive director of Media Partners Asia. “There’s also Indonesia, but it’s still a bit upside down in terms of scalability.”

reliance shares rose 2.2% in Mumbai on Thursday. TV18 Broadcast Ltd. collapsed by up to 18%, while Network18 collapsed by 19%.

While Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. is expanding its presence in the Indian media sector through its Network18 Media & Investments Ltd., Adani it’s just starting. Last month, Adani Media Ventures Ltd. agreed to purchase a stake in Quintilion Business Media Pvt., According to a statement. Quintilion was an Indian partner of Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News.

With $ 1.8 billion from Bodhi Tree and another $ 216 million from a Reliance arm, Viacom18 is gearing up for an epic confrontation with Disney, Amazon and Sony Group Corp. for the broadcasting rights of the Indian Premier League, a prestigious annual cricket tournament which is roughly equivalent to the Super Bowl. Offers are likely to exceed $ 5 billion, people familiar with the matter said.

Last year’s edition of the IPL drew 380 million viewers and the broadcaster buying the rights is likely to secure millions of new subscribers in a highly competitive market.

The Bodhi Tree investment also marks the Murdoch family’s return to an entertainment market that it caved when Walt Disney Co. took over a portion of 21st Century Fox’s assets, including Star India, in 2019. Disney now owns Hotstar , a popular streaming platform with millions of cricket fans around the world.

Bodhi Tree is a newly formed platform between Murdoch and Uday Shankar, the former head of Star India and later Disney Asia. Qatar Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund of the state of Qatar, is an investor.

Separately, the Adani Group said Wednesday that it has incorporated AMG Media Networks, adding that it will focus on publishing, advertising, broadcasting and distributing content across different types of media networks. It has not been processed.

Just late last year, Sony and Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd., run by a local media mogul, agreed on a merger that would create a media giant worth around $ 10 billion.

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