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Disney rules out GEC launch in India

MUMBAI: The Walt Disney Company has no intention of getting into the general entertainment space (GEC) in India.

“We are leaders in the kids space with our channels. In the youth space, also we have an interesting play with our two channels. There is a lot of original content that we produce. And we are in the movie genre with UTV Movies and UTV Action. That’s where we are, and we don’t have any ambition to get into the general entertainment genre,” Disney India MD Siddharth Roy Kapur said.

Kapur, thus, ruled out a bigger broadcast play from Disney in India. There have been rumours about the company wanting to expand in the GEC space, which requires huge investments but can give high revenues.

A few years back, Disney had ramped up its operations in India by acquiring stake in Ronnie Screwvala-promoted UTV Software Communications. Subsequently, it took full control and delisted UTV from the domestic bourses. It currently operates a clutch of kids, youth and movie channels in India apart from a motion pictures business.

Since taking complete control of UTV, the Walt Disney Company has not made any major announcement. Earlier in May, it announced that it will rebrand UTV Stars on 1 October and the new channel will complement Bindass, its youth entertainment channel.

In June, the Walt Disney Company got the government approval for infusion of additional capital into the Indian company of up to Rs 1,100 crore (Rs 11 billion). The approval also included additional investments from time to time.

Industry experts were expecting that Kapur, who took charge this year as the new MD, will start taking radical steps to scale up Disney’s television business in India. For now, it seems scaling up is not on cards, and Disney India is looking more at consolidation with a thrust on the motion pictures division which was earlier headed by Kapur.

Disney runs channels like Hungama, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Bindass, UTV Stars, UTV Movies and UTV Action.

Also read:

Walt Disney gets FIPB nod to invest Rs 11 bn in UTV Software

UTV Stars to rebrand; new channel to complement Bindass