(Bloomberg) -- Nearly half of India’s internet users watched movies, television shows, news and sports on streaming platforms owned by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. and Walt Disney Co. before they merged to form a media giant, according to Virgina-based data analytics firm Comscore. 

Last month, Reliance agreed to acquire Disney’s India business, creating an $8.5 billion media giant ranging from film and television production to news and sports content. 

In January, nearly 243.5 million users — a 46.5% market share — visited three streaming platforms, Disney’s Hotstar and Reliance’s JioCinema and JioTV. Hotstar garnered over 114 million unique visitors for the month, while JioCinema and JioTV received more than 129 million visitors during the period, according to Comscore data. 

 

Streaming cricket has been essential to the success of Hotstar and JioCinema and JioTV. The Reliance platforms garnered a huge spike in viewership between March and May 2023 thanks to its coverage of the Indian Premier League, Comscore date shows. Hotstar received 191 million visitors last November, driven in large part by offering the Men’s Cricket World Cup.

The merger is expected to hurt competitors Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc’s Prime Video+miniTV, as well as local platforms such as Times Internet’s MXPlayer and Zee Entertainment Ltd’s ZEE5.

The merged company will command the lion’s share of India’s advertising market, affecting traditional broadcasters, Karan Taurani, senior vice president, Elara Securities India Pvt, said in a research note last week.

The consolidation “could have a negative impact on other linear TV broadcasters, such as Sun TV, Z Sony, and others, as they may not be scale up on market share,” Taurani wrote.

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