Sony Looks for New Growth Options in India After Zee Deal Collapses

Sony Looks for New Growth Options in India After Zee Deal Collapses

Sony Corporation, the Japanese media giant, is not giving up on its ambitions in India, despite the breakdown of its proposed merger with Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL), the country’s largest broadcaster. Sony is confident about the long-term potential of the Indian market and is exploring other strategic alternatives to expand its presence and reach.

File image of a man walking past the Sony logo outside the company's headquarters in Tokyo. Sony confirmed on January 22, 2024 that it is pulling out a merger of its Indian business with local rival Zee Entertainment

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The merger deal, which was announced in September 2023, was called off by Sony on January 22, 2024, after ZEEL failed to meet certain conditions, including obtaining regulatory approvals and resolving a dispute with its lenders. The deal would have created a media behemoth with a combined revenue of over ₹75,000 crore and a market share of 27% in the television segment.

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Sony, which operates Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI), a subsidiary that runs 24 channels across entertainment, sports, and regional genres, said it will continue to invest in India and look for new opportunities to grow its business. “We remain optimistic about India’s significant long-term potential and will pursue growth opportunities independently,” said NP Singh, managing director and chief executive officer of SPNI, in a statement.
According to media analysts, Sony has several options to consider, such as acquiring or partnering with other players, launching new channels or digital platforms, or expanding into new segments such as gaming, music, or e-commerce. Sony also has a strong global portfolio of content and brands that it can leverage in India.

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However, Sony will also face challenges in the highly competitive and fragmented Indian media landscape, which is undergoing a digital transformation amid the rise of over-the-top (OTT) platforms and changing consumer preferences. Sony will have to compete with rivals such as Disney+ Hotstar, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Viacom18, and MX Player, as well as emerging players such as Jio, Tata, and Reliance Industries.

Sony currently operates SonyLIV, an OTT platform that offers live sports, original shows, and movies. However, SonyLIV lags behind its peers in terms of subscribers and content offerings. According to a report by RedSeer Consulting, SonyLIV had 5.7 million paid subscribers as of December 2023, compared to 46.4 million for Disney+ Hotstar, 26.8 million for Netflix, and 21.5 million for Amazon Prime Video.

Source : mint

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