In a major boost to JioCinema, Reliance’s broadcasting arm Viacom18 has formed an exclusive content partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery. JioCinema will begin streaming HBO, Max Original, and Warner Bros. programming in India next month, with episodes releasing on JioCinema on the same day as in the United States. The Viacom18-Warner Bros. Discovery partnership is a multi-year arrangement.
The news comes after Disney+ Hotstar stated that it would discontinue streaming HBO material, including popular dramas like Succession and Game of Thrones, on March 31.
Viacom18 has finalised the merger design involving Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), Bodhi Tree Systems, and US media powerhouse Paramount Global. With this merger, JioCinema was fully integrated into Viacom18.
According to Ferzad Palia, Viacom18’s president of SVOD and International Business, Warner Bros. Discovery sets the worldwide standard for premium content. This agreement will help them establish the most complete destination for their consumers.
JioCinema is aggressively pursuing a significant portion of India’s OTT industry. In addition to licenced material, the platform is beefing up its own content offering. JioCinema intends to release up to 100 movies and series over the next 18-24 months at INR 2,000 crore.
The company has already succeeded in attracting clients by providing free live streaming of the present Indian Premier League (IPL). During the first weekend of the cricket tournament, JioCinema claimed 5 million new app downloads. The OTT platform received over 147 million video views during the first weekend and gained 10 million new subscribers.
JioCinema is directly competing with Disney+Hotstar for primacy in the Indian OTT ecosystem. Disney also lost the IPL’s internet streaming rights to Viacom18, ending its five-year stranglehold on IPL rights. Viacom18 outbid Disney+Hotstar to get the IPL’s digital rights for the 2023-27 season. The showpiece competition attracts a large number of fans in the cricket-crazy country.
Apart from Disney+Hotstar, JioCinema’s aggressive strategy is expected to cause issues for other OTT competitors like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Zee5, and SonyLIV.
According to RBSA Advisors, India’s video OTT industry is predicted to reach $12.5 billion by 2030, up from $1.5 billion in 2021, due to increased internet and smartphone penetration.