Disney-Star in talks with Reliance to sell Hotstar after missing out on IPL

3 days ago 26

All is not well with Disney-Star. Missing out on the Indian Premier League (IPL digital rights) and BCCI Media Rights deal has cost the broadcast giants dearly. As per media reports, the situation is such that Disney-Star is looking to sell Hotstar, its OTT platform, to potential suitors.

As per Bloomberg, the company has had preliminary talks with its main competitor Reliance, which has outfoxed the company in bagging both IPL and India cricket matches.

Since missing out on IPL, Disney has lost over 20 million subscribers from Disney+ Hotstar, which also did not renew the deal for HBO content.

The latest blow was missing out on BCCI Media Rights. As a result, there will be no India cricket matches on the platform. Viacom18 picked up the rights. In fact, Disney-Star did not even bid in the e-auction.

While Disney-Star has refused to comment on any ongoing negotiations for a potential sell, Reliance has also declined to disclose any further details.

“As a policy, we do not comment on media speculation and rumours. Our company evaluates various opportunities on an ongoing basis,” a Reliance spokesperson said in a statement to the Economic Times.


Disney-Star Sports properties

  • Indian Premier League (TV)
  • ICC Media Rights (TV & Digital)
  • Australia Cricket Rights (TV & Digital)
  • Asia Cup Cricket
  • Premier League
  • Pro Kabaddi League
  • Wimbledon

Despite losing IPL and India cricket matches, Disney+ Hotstar still has a lot to offer on the platform. Apart from ICC events, Big Bash League and all Australia cricket home matches will be on Disney+ Hotstar.

Disney-Star also delivered a blockbuster Asia Cup 2023 with over 2 crore viewers tuning in to watch India cricket matches. With World Cup 2023 also on Disney-Star, inlcuding free for mobile users, it is set to rake in good viewerships that may just keep the platform with Disney-Star instead of being sold.

Hotstar a difficult sell?

Disney-Star has already inked a deal with Zee for ICC events for the next four years (TV only). And even if Disney is looking to offload Hotstar, it won’t be an easy sell. A merger with Viacom18 could be gamechanging but the declining digital business as well as $4 billion worth sports rights liabilites could derail any potential deal as per Economic Times.

Furthermore, Hotstar will be a costly asset with the current sports and entertainment deals in place. Hence, apart from Reliance-backed Viacom18, not many can afford such a deal.

The post Disney-Star in talks with Reliance to sell Hotstar after missing out on IPL appeared first on Inside Sport India.

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