Disney Mulls Selling Indian TV & Streaming Business — WSJ

Disney is reportedly considering its strategic options in India — and could sell its streaming and TV business there.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the House of Mouse could sell or find a joint venture partner for its Indian business, which includes the Star TV channels and the Disney+ Hotstar streaming service.

WSJ quoted an anonymous with “direct knowledge” of the plans, who said the talks are been driven by Disney execs out of the U.S. “Talks have begun internally [on] what makes sense to do,” added the source.

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Talks are at a “very, very nascent” stage and no companies have been approached yet about a sale or JV.

Disney+ Hotstar is India’s most subscribed-to streamer but is under pressure from rivals, in particular JioCinema, the service owned by Mukesh Ambani’s conglom Reliance Industries, Paramount Global and James Murdoch’s Bodhi Tree Systems through a restructured Viacom18.

Significantly, JioCinema now has the streaming rights for the Indian Premier League cricket, which is being offered for free. Disney previous had the IPL rights (and retains them for TV) but pulled out of an expensive auction last year. JioCinema also grabbed rights to HBO shows such as Succession, which were also with Hotstar before.

Earlier today, Disney CEO Bob Iger said the linear TV business “may not be core” to the wider company, and efforts are now under way to explore a number of strategic options.

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