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RIL's Viacom18 reshuffles top leadership ahead of Disney India merger

Sumit Vishwakarma
New Update
reliance disney merger

Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries and The Walt Disney Company recently agreed to merge their media and entertainment assets in India, creating an $8.5 billion behemoth. The merger includes over 100 television channels, two major digital streaming platforms, and exclusive rights to significant sporting events and Disney productions. 

The joint venture aims to reshape the Indian media landscape, combining Viacom18's and Star India's vast media undertakings.

Leadership and structure adjustments

Ahead of this merger, Viacom18 has seen a significant reshuffling of its leadership. Kiran Mani, previously at the helm of JioCinema's digital business, will now oversee the digital and sports segments.


Kevin Vaz, the CEO of broadcast entertainment, expands his role to lead the entire content business, including TV and digital content, children's programming, live events, and the movie studio business under Viacom18 Studios. This restructuring aims to streamline operations but has reportedly caused some internal discontent.

Stake distribution and strategic leadership

The joint venture will see Reliance Industries, Viacom18, and Disney holding significant stakes, with Reliance investing Rs 11,500 crore for growth. Nita Ambani is set to chair the JV, with Uday Shankar, a key figure in the media industry and co-founder of Bodhi Tree Systems, serving as Vice Chairperson.

Notably, The strategic leadership is expected to guide the JV through the competitive Indian media and entertainment sector.

Impact on the market and competition

The merger solidifies Reliance's position in the Indian market and marks Disney's attempt to adjust its strategy amid fierce competition. The combined entity, with a projected 40% market share in linear TV and OTT sectors, could face scrutiny from regulatory bodies.

However, it significantly enhances the JV's dominance in sports broadcasting and content rights, potentially reshaping the competitive landscape for OTT platforms in India.