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Zee – Sony merger to escalate race for ads, content

The merging of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd and Sony Pictures Networks India Pvt. Ltd, which received approval from the fair trade regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI) last week, is anticipated to escalate competition in India’s media and entertainment sector, reported Livemint.

Once Zee and Sony are merged, according to media experts and analysts, the new company will compete with Disney Star and Viacom18 for a larger share of advertising revenue and in luring more and more content creators to work with them.

With a combined audience of 26.7 per cent, Zee and Sony are likely to overtake Disney Star in the broadcast segment (where it currently ranks first with 20 per cent) and compete with Viacom18 to win the rights to more sports properties to expand its portfolio. The digital rights of Indian Premier League (IPL) are held by Viacom18 for five years beginning in 2023.

A media buyer told Livemint on the condition of anonymity, that it is a complete win-win for Zee and Sony who will be able to leverage each other’s strengths and share multiple synergies in terms of ad revenue and sales.

The combined TV viewership share of 26.7 per cent across almost 75 channels should lead to higher ad sales. Elara Capital Ltd., a global firm that focuses on emerging markets, predicts that the combined ZEEL SPN firm will control a market share of 27 per cent in terms of ad revenue, roughly on par with Disney Star’s 26.5 per cent. In FY22, ZEEL recorded revenue from advertising of Rs 4,396.5 crore.

The media buyer further said that apart from the deals with advertisers, the merger would be able to display better bargaining power with distributors such as MSOs (multi-system operators) and DTH (direct-to-home) operators. Business Standard

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