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Disney Is Trying To Salvage Its Indian Dreams

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The next three weeks could determine Walt Disney’s future in the world’s most populated country.

The Star India network was one of the crown jewels Disney (DIS) acquired when it paid $71 billion to Rupert Murdoch for most of 21st Century Fox five years ago.

With that mega acquisition, the Magical Kingdom acquired Fox’s business in India, obtaining a new audience of over 700 million people in the South Asian country, which is one of the world’s most active media markets.

However, Disney has not had the happily ever after it hoped for. In a late-year results call, CEO Bob Iger admitted that “parts of that business [in India] are challenged for us.”

The House of Mouse was hit most hard in 2022, when it lost the internet rights to stream the immensely popular Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket matches to billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s company.

The US corporation is now attempting to save its India ambition.

Disney and Ambani’s Reliance Industries are discussing merging their Indian media operations to build an entertainment juggernaut in which the Indian tycoon would have the upper hand.

According to Reuters, the corporations have hired lawyers and begun antitrust investigations into the merger. The Economic Times claimed in December that Ambani’s energy-to-telecom company would own 51%, with Disney holding the remaining 49%, citing unnamed sources. According to the Indian publication, the merger will likely be completed by next month.

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Disney did not respond to CNN’s request for comment, while Reliance declined to comment.

Disney’s search for a partner in the world’s fastest-expanding major economy came when the Burbank-based firm dealt with several internal issues.

The 100-year-old Hollywood staple, like its competitors, faces an uncertain environment in the United States, where people are progressively abandoning linear TV in favour of TikTok and YouTube. However, Disney has been particularly severely struck by movie office disappointments and corporate upheavals.

In November, Iger stated that the business is exploring opportunities in India but wants to remain there.

The lukewarm star
It’s easy to understand why. With its relatively free economy and large English-speaking population, India is a desirable destination for global entertainment enterprises.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government expects the country to soon become the world’s third-largest media and entertainment market, up from fifth place today. Disney was handed that market on a silver platter after acquiring Fox.

Star India had established its massive viewership by spending billions of dollars on broadcast rights to several of India’s most popular sports, including cricket, the country’s national preoccupation. In 2017, it outbid Facebook (META) and Sony (SONY) to acquire the IPL, one of the world’s most valuable sporting properties, for $2.6 billion over five years.

The network’s other significant advantage was its local content. Star India provides over 70 TV stations in nine languages in a country with nearly two dozen languages spoken.

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However, Disney has yet to seize the chance.

While its TV division is growing well in India, Iger admitted in November that the company was failing in other sectors. Its streaming app, Hotstar, has lost millions of customers since losing the IPL rights to Reliance nearly two years ago.

Hotstar took another hit in March 2023 when it ceased broadcasting HBO content. Weeks later, Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), the parent company of HBO and CNN, shifted its content to Ambani’s JioCinema, bringing dedicated Indian viewers of hit shows like “Game of Thrones” and “Succession” with them.

Aside from Ambani’s losses, critics have questioned Disney’s India strategy, particularly its aggressive sports expenditure.

The brand’s “entertainment assets would be attractive to any acquirer or partner …[but] … Disney’s India sports business has faced challenges.” According to Mihir Shah, vice president of research firm Media Partners Asia.

While Disney lost the internet rights to IPL matches in 2022, it retained the TV rights until 2027 for more than $3 billion. It also retained the rights to broadcast the International Cricket Council’s events until 2027 for an additional “staggering $3 billion,” Shah stated.

Financial troubles for the company will persist in the coming years, “largely attributed to Disney’s aggressive bidding in renewing rights,” he added.

The media conglomerate has also failed to fully capitalize on its streaming service’s “technical prowess” due to the loss of the IPL and “limited investments in local entertainment content,” according to Shah.

From antagonism to partnerships
The American company’s failures come when competition in India is heating up — the potential Reliance-Disney merger isn’t the only one being considered.

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Disney Is Trying To Salvage Its Indian Dreams

Sony and India’s Zee Entertainment have negotiated for over two years about merging their companies and forming a $10 billion conglomerate. The destiny of that transaction is unknown, but analysts believe such corporate marriages will be critical to gaining scale and competing with global streaming giants like Netflix (NFLX) and Amazon (AMZN), both of which have a significant presence in India.

“These potential deals are a sign that India’s entertainment industry is entering a phase of consolidation, where only a handful of players with deep pockets will be able to operate,” said Aliasgar Shakir, a Motilal Oswal Financial Services analyst.

In a November earnings call, Iger stated that Disney intends to maintain its presence in India while focusing on improving the bottom line.

Ambani, Asia’s second richest man, can help Disney accomplish more with his billions and media ambitions.

The combined business would be huge, with over 100 TV stations and two streaming services.

“It is too early to interpret this as Disney scaling back in India,” Shah said. “The contours of the deal are still unknown, but it is looking more like a partnership between Reliance Industries and Disney.”

It might also mark the beginning of a power couple that extends beyond the media, with industry insiders speculating on a joint push into amusement parks.

“We have to remember that both these companies have business interests beyond media and entertainment, and this partnership could be a start of something bigger,” Shah said.

SOURCE – CNN

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Employees at Boeing will vote on whether to authorize a Possible Strike.

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(VOR News) – In the event that ongoing contract negotiations fail, tens of thousands of hourly Boeing employees were summoned to a vote in Seattle on Wednesday. It is expected that the vote will ratify a potential walkout.

“What can you do to get a good contract?” Local 751 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) poses this query on its website. “Attend strike sanction vote on July 17th!”

In the Seattle, Washington, region, Boeing employs more than 32,000 individuals, with approximately 30,000 of them employed at its facilities in Everett, where the 777 is manufactured, and in Renton, where the 737 is assembled. In the event of a strike, operations at both factories would cease.

The parties initiated negotiations on a new contract in March to replace a 16-year-old agreement. The agreement will conclude at midnight on September 12.

Union members are not permitted to view the proposed contract until Wednesday’s vote. If the contract is rejected by members, a second ballot would be required on September 12 in order to proceed with a strike.

Boeing says Wednesday’s vote is simply a “procedural” measure.

“We remain confident we can reach a deal that balances the needs of our employees and the business realities we face as a company,” according to a statement issued by Boeing.

In addition to a “substantial” pay increase of at least 40%, Jon Holden, the president of Local 751, has requested guarantees for health care, retirement, and job security.

Despite “massive inflation,” Holden has declared that a substantial wage increase is required after eight years of providing workers with minimal cost-of-living assistance.

In a Senate hearing last month, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun declared that employees “will undoubtedly receive a raise.”

The union is also requesting that Boeing ensure the production of its next generation of aircraft in the Seattle area, which is expected to occur around 2035.

Holden maintains that the assurance of the next plane’s production in the Northwest guarantees “job security for the next 50 years.”

In recent weeks, discussions have largely stagnated, according to the IAM. The union is anticipating a substantial attendance on Wednesday in order to effectively communicate its message to Boeing.

The event will be held at T-Mobile Park in Seattle, the home of the Seattle Mariners baseball franchise. The stadium has the capacity to hold up to 48,000 spectators. The IAM is coordinating a motorcycle procession on Wednesday, which will feature more than 800 vehicles.

Boeing’s solidarity, according to the IAM’s local website, is the goal.

In its report, the local reported that the factory would remain silent, and that this was intended as a “message to take our proposals seriously and a reminder of the consequences of rejecting a substandard offer and voting to strike in September.”

Boeing declared that it would permit employees to arrive late or depart early on Wednesday to accommodate “reasonable” travel time.

“We respect and support the right of our employees to take part in the July 17 vote,” according to Boeing. “Partial time away from work will be excused and not counted for attendance purposes.”

The IAM has stated that the early strike authorization vote will give union officials legal notice to prepare for the payment of strike pay to workers in the event of a cessation.

Striking employees are entitled to $250 per week in pay from the third week of a strike.

The IAM has also requested at least one seat on Boeing’s board of directors, despite the fact that it is considered a long chance.

On Wednesday, the 1,200 Boeing employees in Oregon who are part of the IAM’s W24 district will vote, in addition to the workers in Washington.

Given Boeing’s current problems, the union is seeking permission to negotiate any changes to quality management that could potentially affect the production system.

“We never proposed those things in the past but it’s our reputation, it’s our jobs, it’s our livelihoods,” Holden asserted.

SOURCE: UN

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Google Is Close To Making Its Biggest Acquisition Ever

2024 | Hacker Group Claims It Leaked Internal Disney Slack Messages Over AI Concerns

Amazon Prime Day Is A Big Event For Scammers, Experts Warn

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Google Is Close To Making Its Biggest Acquisition Ever

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Google's Latest Spam Update Met with Widespread Criticism Amidst a Year of Turbulent Changes

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is in advanced talks to buy fast-growing cybersecurity startup Wiz for around $23 billion, a person familiar with the situation confirmed to CNN.

A takeover of Wiz, which provides cybersecurity software for cloud computing, would be Google’s largest cybersecurity acquisition to date.

According to the source, the talks between Google and Wiz began after the business raised $1 billion from venture capital investors earlier this year.

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Google | CNN

Google Is Close To Making Its Biggest Acquisition Ever

According to the source, the terms of a potential deal have not been completed, and negotiations may fail.

The Wall Street Journal was the first to report on the Wiz talks.

Neither Google nor Wiz responded to CNN’s requests for comment.

The transaction would likely beat Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola almost a decade ago, the company’s largest buyout in history. Only two years later, Google sold Motorola for a huge loss.

Wiz’s $23 billion price tag roughly quadruples the startup’s $12 billion valuation from its most recent fundraising round.

In March 2022, Alphabet paid $5.4 billion to acquire cybersecurity firm Mandiant as part of its attempts to help businesses better confront cyber risks and grow its cloud computing business.

Cloud is critical to the company’s efforts to diversify revenue streams beyond its main search advertising business. Despite increased cloud revenues, it has yet to compete with similar services like Microsoft and Amazon.

Buying Wiz would be a “shot across the bow” at Microsoft and Amazon, demonstrating Google’s “major bet on the cyber security space to complement its flagship offering in the cloud,” Dan Ives, managing director and senior equity research analyst at Wedbush, wrote in a note to clients on Monday.

Cloud security has grown increasingly critical recently as businesses have extensively moved data to cloud systems. Last week, AT&T disclosed that virtually all of its wireless customers’ call and text records were compromised in a huge breach caused by an “illegal download” on a third-party cloud platform.

The Wiz acquisition talks came despite intensified antitrust investigation of internet titans by the Biden administration.

However, if Trump retakes the White House, that antitrust vigilance might be turned back slightly, Ives said, making the Federal Trade Commission “much weaker” and sparking an “accelerated merger and acquisition environment to take place for Big Tech.”

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Google | Wiki Image

Google Is Close To Making Its Biggest Acquisition Ever

If the acquisition is confirmed and completed, it will be a big departure for Wiz and its founders, Assaf Rappaport, Ami Luttwak, Yinon Costica, and Roy Reznik. The four executives first met when enlisted into Unit 8200, the Israel Defense Forces’ cyber intelligence branch.

In New York City, Wiz has experienced rapid development since its inception in March 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Today, the organization claims that 40% of Fortune 100 corporations are its clientele.

Notable customers include BMW, Slack, and Salesforce, and it collaborates with major cloud providers such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.

SOURCE | CNN

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2024 | Hacker Group Claims It Leaked Internal Disney Slack Messages Over AI Concerns

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An activist hacker group claimed to have exposed hundreds of Disney’s internal message channels, including details on unreleased projects, raw photos, computer codes, and even logins.

Nullbulge, a “hacktivist group,” claimed responsibility for the breach and stated they exposed approximately 1.2 gigabytes of data from Slack, a communications platform. In an email to CNN on Monday, the group said it got access from “a man with Slack access who had cookies.” The email further stated the group was based in Russia.

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Disney | CNN Image

Hacker Group Claims It Leaked Internal Disney Slack Messages Over AI Concerns

According to the mail, “The user was aware we had them. He tried to kick us out once but let us walk right back in before the second time.”

CNN could not independently verify the claims.

In a statement issued Monday, Disney stated it “is investigating this matter.” the entertainment empire encompasses various divisions and enterprises, from ESPN to Hulu, Disney+ to ABC News.

The group also declared that it wishes to defend artists’ rights and pay for their work, particularly in the age of artificial intelligence.

“Disney was our target due to how it handles artist contracts, its approach to AI, and its pretty blatant disregard for the consumer,” the hacking group stated via email.

Nullbulge had hinted at the massive release on social media for several weeks. For example, in June, the organization released visitation, booking, and income data from Disneyland Paris on X.

Artificial intelligence was a major stumbling block in negotiations during the Screen Actors Guild and Writers Guild of America strikes. Writers are anxious that ChatGPT can produce screenplays in their place, while performers are concerned that computer-generated imagery, or CGI, would completely replace them.

The hackers claimed they leaked the material because making demands on Disney would be pointless.

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Disney | Wired Image

Hacker Group Claims It Leaked Internal Slack Messages Over AI Concerns

“If we announced, ‘Hello, we have all your Slack data,’ they would immediately shut down and attempt to take us out. “In a duel, you better fire first,” the email read.

In 2014, a massive cyberattack at Sony Pictures attributed to North Korea sparked an international crisis by disclosing emails from corporate officials, celebrity aliases, social security information, and full movie scripts.

SOURCE | AP

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