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Zee-Sony merger: Giants Collaborate to build world’s second largest entertainment network

Japan’s conglomerate Indian subsidiary Sony has concluded an agreement with local rival Zee Entertainment to build the world’s second largest entertainment network.

The combined business will include more than 75 television channels, film equipment and two broadcast platforms.

It is poised to become a major player in the fast-growing entertainment industry of the world, challenging rivals such as Walt Disney’s Hotstar.

India has over 900 million TV viewers and about 800 channels.

These channels offer a variety of programs from sports, melodramas to real television.

According to the merger, announced on Tuesday, the merger will be approximately 51% of Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI). It will be led by Zee Chief Executive Officer, Punit Goenka, after 90 days of scrutiny.
Mr Goenka called the agreement “an important milestone”.

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“The combined company will create a complete entertainment business, enabling us to assist our customers with extensive content options across all platforms,” ​​he said, according to the official release.

Both companies have been operating in India for years and are the owners of ZEE5 and SonyLIV broadcasting platforms. They also have a great TV following with popular channels like Sony MAX and Zee TV.
“It’s a very consistent deal,” entertainment expert Vanita Kohli Khandekar told the BBC.

“For example Sony does not have a pan-India area, a small town and district Zee has. And Zee does not have a children’s or sports business like Sony.”

Ms Khandekar said the agreement would also advance Zee to international matches. “The company has now been taken over by Sony, a $ 82bn (£ 61bn) company. So, Zee is now a foreign company, giving it a bigger platform.”

While most Indians still rely on direct TV entertainment going home, the country is also a lucrative place for broadcasters who are constantly entering the big online marketplace to target young digital audiences.

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The past few years have seen an increase in competition from streaming platforms including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hotstar as more users discard television on digital games.

Experts say the merger of Sony and Zee is expected to further the competition.

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