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A tale of two giant mergers and their India fallout - nairrk - 12-18-2017


MUMBAI: Two deals shook the world of media and entertainment last week: Disney-21st Century Fox and Dish TV-Videocon d2h. One was all about content and affects the world of media and entertainment globally including India. The second was all about content distribution and platform and impacts the world of television in India.

Of course, the ripple effect of the first is oceanic for comparison with the other. So deep will be the impact of Bob Iger and Rupert Murdoch’s decision that the future will look back at the history of media as the pre and post-Disney-Fox and New Fox era.

Nevertheless, it has created a behemoth in India: the new Disney, which now will house Star India, will have relationships with Tata Sky and the video streaming service Hotstar. The union of Disney and Fox is expected to bring in synergistic savings of close to $2 billion; some of that will be contributed by the Indian division, however marginal that might be.

In India, the Dish TV-Videocon d2h merger has created the world’s second largest pay satellite TV distribution platform with 29 million subscribers, just behind AT&T’s Direct TV.

Dish TV Videocon merged is also predicted to bring in large savings through rationalisation of the two companies’ manpower, backend resources and better combined purchasing negotiating power, distribution and infrastructure like offices etc. An estimate is that costs cumulatively will come down by about 10-20 per cent.

The main leverage it will get is in content costs. Even though the Disney-Fox combine will be unmatchable internationally, in India, Dish TV Videocon could more than prove a match for it. With the expensive IPL under its belt, it will most probably have to kowtow to CEO Anil Dua and chairman Jawahar Goel’s diktats on how much they will pay out for carrying the Star India network’s signals, which includes its premium programming and sports.

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