Disney Makes History With New Merger!

Disney Reliance India Merger
Credit: AppleTV+

In November 2022, Bob Iger stepped back into the role of CEO of The Walt Disney Company after Bob Chapek was unceremoniously fired. From the beginning, Iger was honest about the changes needed at Disney+. Disney+ launched in 2019, just months before the COVID-19 pandemic, and saw some initial success. However, the streaming service has struggled for several years and Disney has lost nearly $11 billion.

Disney Plus goosebumps

Credit: Disney+

Related: Fans Furious After Disney+ Enacts Controversial Policy Change

Since returning, Iger has made a concerted effort to make Disney+ profitable, or at least, stop the bleeding regarding losses. That has led to the cancelation of nearly a dozen Disney+ original series. This includes National Treasure: Edge of History, The Mysterious Benedict Society, Big Shot, Willow, The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, and Muppets Mayhem. They also canceled two series that had been filmed but not yet airedThe Spiderwick Chronicles and Nautilus.

Mysterious Benedict Society

Credit: Disney

Of course, for any streaming service to succeed, they must constantly enroll new subscribers. Iger admitted that the recent price hikes to Disney+ cost the company 1 million subscribers. However, he remained positive, saying that the company expects to add 5 to 6 million more subscribers by the end of March.

And now, Iger has just cemented a historic merger that will help Disney become one of the premiere streaming services in the most populous country in the world.

Disney Plus Star merger

Credit: Disney

According to TheWrap, The Walt Disney Company has signed an $8.5 BILLION deal with Reliance Industries. The joint venture will merge the massive media company Viacom18 with Star India (formerly Disney Star).

The combined entity will be a leading TV and digital streaming platform in India, bringing together assets across entertainment and sports, including Colors, StarPlus, StarGOLD, Star Sports and Sports 18. It will also offer access to highly anticipated events through JioCinema and Hotstar, catering to over 750 million viewers across India and the Indian diaspora across the world.

Additionally, the joint venture will have exclusive rights to distribute Disney films and productions in India, with a license to more than 30,000 content assets.

Disney Plus Hostar India

Credit: Disney+ Hotstar

The deal is expected to be finalized and go into effect in late 2024 or early 2025. Reliance Industry will have 63% ownership and Disney will have 37% ownership. Reliance will also invest $1.4 billion into the merger, while Disney will contribute “certain additional media assets.”

Reliance Industries is owned by Mukesh Ambani, who lauded the massive merger.

“We have always respected Disney as the best media group globally and are very excited at forming this strategic joint venture that will help us pool our extensive resources, creative prowess, and market insights to deliver unparalleled content at affordable prices to audiences across the nation. We welcome Disney as a key partner of Reliance group.”

Disney confirms Mandalorian movie

Credit: Lucasfilm

Bob Iger also praised the deal, since Disney will now work with a media company that knows the ins and outs of entertainment in India.

The merger comes after Disney explored the possibility of selling Star India. Disney acquired the streaming service when it purchased 21st Century Fox in 2019.

What do you think of this historic merger? Let us know in the comments!

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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