Firing news, its way, when Asia’s two biggest Men Prepare for Battle against Netflix, Amazon.
Viacom18 Media Pvt., Mukesh Ambani’s local joint venture with Paramount Global, is set to receive 135 billion rupees ($1.8 billion) in a funding round led by James Murdoch-backed Bodhi Tree Systems.
Viacom18 Media Pvt., Ambani’s local joint venture with Paramount Global, is set to receive 135 billion rupees ($1.8 billion) in a funding round led by James Murdoch-backed Bodhi Tree Systems. Adani Enterprises Ltd., the tycoon’s flagship company, said separately that it has established a new media subsidiary, signaling his ambitions to tap the growing market.
The Viacom18 investment and Adani’s entry into media mark a new phase in the battle for eyeballs and content in a market with a robust local film industry, a growing middle class and rapidly expanding access to the internet. But it’s also proved to be a tough market. Struggling to add subscribers, Netflix, for instance, has had to cut its fees to lure price-conscious users.
Still, “India is the only full-scale, high-growth opportunity in Asia outside of China,” said Vivek Couto, executive director at Media Partners Asia. “Indonesia is also there, but it’s still a few pegs down still in terms of scalability.”
Reliance shares climbed 1.5% in Mumbai on Thursday. TV18 Broadcast Ltd. plunged 18%, while Network18 slumped 20%.
While Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. is widening its footprint in the Indian media sector through his Network18 Media & Investments Ltd., Adani is just starting out. Last month, Adani Media Ventures Ltd. agreed to buy a stake in Quintillion Business Media Pvt., according to a statement. Quintillion was an Indian partner of Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News.
With the $1.8 billion from Bodhi Tree and an additional $216 million from a Reliance arm, Viacom18 is preparing for an epic faceoff with Disney, Amazon and Sony Group Corp. for broadcast rights of Indian Premier League, or IPL, a prized annual cricket tournament that’s roughly equivalent to the Super Bowl. Bids are likely to exceed $5 billion, people familiar with the matter have said. Bodhi Tree is a newly formed platform between Murdoch and Uday Shankar, the former chief of Star India and later Disney Asia. Qatar Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar, is an investor.