Network Ten Owner Pays Billions For Cricket Rights As They Go After AFL
US Company Paramount Global the owner of Network Ten and Paramount + in Australia who is currently in the bidding ring for the rights to AFL football, has just stumped up close to $3.75 billion for the rights to broadcast India’s cricket league online in partnership with Viacom 18.
The network who are looking to turn their fortunes around in Australia outbid Walt Disney Co, who did win the television broadcast rights to some matches in a deal valued at about US $3 billion.
Like AFL and NRL has been for Foxtel locally cricket has been a huge contributor to Disney’s global streaming growth.
The growing streaming and TV company, a joint venture between Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries, Paramount Global and Bodhi Tree Systems, the investment company backed by James Murdoch and Uday Shankar, will get an overnight surge in Indian video subscribers as soon as the next IPL season begins.
The Disney+ Hotstar service, currently broadcasts the Indian Premier League under a contract expiring this year.
They have 50.1 million subscribers as of April 2.
That’s more than a third of the global total for Disney+.
Currently the AFL is in talks with Paramount Global, Network Seven and Nine Entertainment as well as Foxtel.
Bloomberg said that Disney didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
The shares fell as much as 4.6% on Monday amid a broad market selloff.
The stock has dropped 38% this year amid investor concerns about the outlook for streaming growth after the drop in subscribers at Netflix.
Ben Swinburne, an analyst with Morgan Stanley, wrote in a research note recently “While the loss of cricket may pressure subscriber growth, he noted that “the profit potential out of India is minimal” and won’t have a material impact on earnings.
Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Chapek told investors in February that while cricket was a key component of its product offering, new local content the company is developing in India would mitigate the impact if the company lost the rights.
“It’s not like we see that business evaporating if we don’t get it,” Chapek said.