Reliance-owned JioCinema, the official digital streaming partner of the cash-rich Indian Premier League, might soon start charging you for its material, departing from tycoon Mukesh Ambani’s plan to provide free viewing of the world’s richest cricket league, which is shattering many audience records this year.
In order to compete with global heavyweights like Netflix and Walt Disney, Viacom18’s JioCinema wants to add more than 100 movies and TV shows to its platform. However, this would cost the general public money. According to Jyoti Deshpande, President of Reliance’s media and entertainment division, the expansion will take place at the same time that JioCinema begins to charge for content, but the precise price plan is still being worked out.
Before the IPL concludes on May 28, new content will be released. Until then, she said, viewers can watch games for free.
Deshpande stated that “keeping tariffs simple for viewers” is the strategy. Currently, westernised content “dominates the streaming space. Jio Studios intends to spur the mingling of different types of talent. She told Bloomberg, “We want to become as Indian as possible.
In order to compete in India, which is a price-conscious market, the Netflix OTT platform had to lower its prices. However, there are other regional OTTs that have a strong subscriber base since they appeal to the area’s cinema-going fanbase.
At a time when the conglomerate-owned network has drawn millions of users thanks to the ongoing IPL razzmatazz, the expected strategy to start charging for content makes sense.
According to JioCinema, 5.5 billion unique video views were made on the platform in the first week. On April 12, 2023, a record-breaking 22 million people watched the JioCinema match between the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, according to the report.
Disney Star, which is airing the matches on more than 20 channels, reported that the first 10 IPL games had registered 62.3 billion minutes of viewing time, which is also true for television. For the first game, there were 56 million concurrent users.
For the first time ever, the matches are being aired by two companies—Disney Star and Viacom18—on television and online, respectively. The businesses had to pay a hefty price for the broadcast rights. They also created a ferocious competition between broadcast television and online streaming, changing the habit of watching cricket on television.
The official digital streaming partner of the IPL, JioCinema, racked up over 147 crore video views throughout the course of the tournament’s opening weekend, according to Viacom18, a joint venture between Reliance Industries and Paramount Global.
With a payment of Rs 23,575 crore, Walt Disney & Co.-owned Star Sports, the official television broadcaster of the IPL, secured the TV rights across the Indian subcontinent. IPL helped its TV rating increase by 29%.
Ambani is thus leveraging the IPL’s success to promote content and ultimately unveil the pricing strategy for a country with 1.4 billion inhabitants who are passionate about both movies and cricket. In addition, he aspires to compete with the world’s titans in online streaming and worldwide media.
Ambani is reportedly close to putting Jio Platforms on stock exchanges.
His innovative strategy of providing free streaming, such as during the FIFA World Cup, emphasises persuading bigger sponsors to sign chequebooks or even Reliance pushing its own products, particularly FMCG products, where the business monarch has set eyes on controlling the market.