Reliance Industries Limited, through a subsidiary, has agreed to subscribe to a 5% equity stake in NASDAQ listed Eros International. The two companies have agreed to partner in India to jointly produce and consolidate content from across India. The parties will equally invest up to INR 1,000 crores in aggregate to produce and acquire Indian films and digital originals across all languages.
Jyoti Deshpande, Group CEO and MD of Eros will be stepping down from her Executive role after more than 17 years in Eros and move on to head the Media and Entertainment business at RIL as President of the Chairman’s Office. In her new role at RIL, Jyoti will lead the company’s initiatives in Media and Entertainment to organically build and grow businesses around the content ecosystem such as Broadcasting, Films, Sports, Music, Digital, Gaming, Animation etc., as well as integrate RIL’s existing media investments such as Viacom and Balaji Telefilms with a view to build, scale and consolidate the fragmented USD 20 billion Indian M&E sector, states the official release. Kishore Lulla will resume his position of Group Chairman and CEO of Eros.
What is noteworthy in this recent development is that Reliance, in a way, has stake in three major digital players in the country with this development. With its stake in Viacom (which has VOOT as its digital platform) and Balaji Telefilms (which has OTT platform of ALTBalaji), Reliance Industries is a force to reckon with.
And with the stake in Eros, Reliance has upped the ante. TheDigitalHash.com has already reported that Eros Now has ambitious digital plans for the future. Eros Now plans to release six original series. There is a similar growth trajectory expected of ALTBalaji, which is gearing up for the release of Kehne Ko Humsafar Hain after releasing a host of titles recently.
Reliance Jio thus has an upper hand over other telecom companies such as Airtel and Vodafone, with its own content and therefore an increasing catalogue. Notably these telecom companies also have partnerships with many digital players, but having a stake in the companies is definitely something that can prove to be a game changer.