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Disney Fox deal beneficial to India, say experts

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Soon, Indian television viewers would be able to watch the programs of entertainment giant Walt Disney.

According to international media reports, Disney is expected to ink a deal with Twenty-First Century Fox Inc which will enable them to distribute its programs in the fast-growing media market.

New York Times reported that Disney would buy the 20th Century Fox movie and television studios; 22 regional cable networks dedicated to sports; Fox’s stake in the Hulu streaming service; cable networks like FX and National Geographic; and stakes in Sky of Britain and Star of India.

Twenty-First Century Fox Inc’s Star India operator of 69 TV channels in segments ranging from local TV serials to international cricket matches in eight languages. Apart from this, Star group’s Hotstar is a prime platform for online streaming in India.

The deal will set new standards for the entertainment industry in India that has been witnessing the entry of international players in recent years. Amazon.com Inc’s Prime Video is gaining popularity as an alternative to the conventional way of watching movies. Netflix Inc has also been on the market for two years.

“It is an amazing opportunity to get into the best developing market in the world. But it is highly competitive,” MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson told Reuters.

 

The $75 billion deal is expected to increase the competition in entertainment industry both in India and across the world.

Disney is looking for expansion opportunities across the world as its largest US network, ESPN, has been losing subscribers because of the shift from traditional television to digital viewing.

India provides abundant opportunities to Disney. With more than 154 million households with TV in 2016, India is the second largest subscription TV market in Asia.

“Star India alone is by far the most successful TV network in the fastest-growing country,” Macquarie Research analyst Tim Nollen was quoted as saying by Reuters.

 The largest film industry in the world, India produces more than 2000 movies every year. With movies like Baahubali, Indian film industry has expanded its presence to international level. Disney has already produced some Bollywood movies through its Indian film studio UTV.

India’s love for sports, especially cricket, coupled with the introduction of domestic leagues in other games like football (Indian Super League), and Pro Kabaddi League would pave the way for Disney to enhance its market in India.


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