Walt Disney Co’s deal with Twenty-First Century Fox Inc gives the entertainment company new advantages in India, such as cricket rights and local-language TV shows for the fast-growing media market. Through the `3,51,080 crore (USD 52.4 billion) deal, Disney would be able to distribute its programming on Star India, operator of 69 TV channels in eight languages, as well as the popular Hotstar streaming service. Disney also would gain global rights to professional cricket. Fox projects it will earn Rs. 33,500 crore (USD 500 million) before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization in fiscal 2018, rising to Rs. 6700 crore (USD 1 billion) in 2020.
Adding Star would vastly expand Disney’s TV presence there. Disney could put its content on the Star channels and Hotstar. Global sports rights, particularly cricket which Fox recently won, should add to Disney’s bottom line. In September, Star paid Rs. 17,085 crore (USD 2.55 billion) for broadcast and digital rights of the Indian Premier League cricket tournament. With the acquisition of Star, Disney may decide to return to local-language film production through UTV for distribution on TV or streaming.