JioCinema streaming platform | Photo credits Fone Arena

JioCinema put India on the global map on Monday, breaking the world record for the most concurrent viewers of a live-streamed event, thwarting a milestone long achieved by Disney’s Hotstar.

Hotstar reached a peak of 25.3 million concurrent viewers for a cricket match in July 2019, a feat that remained unmatched for several years.

But as the platform moved the IPL streaming service to a paid model, it struggled to break this record in the following years, highlighting the challenges of balancing reach and revenue in the streaming sector.

The streaming platform, owned by the country’s richest man Mukesh Ambani is stopping at nothing as it spreads its wings in the digital space.

Backed by the likes of Viacom18 and James Murdoch’s Bodhi Tree, JioCinema broke the record for concurrent viewership with over 32 million people tuning in for the final match of the Indian Premier League cricket season, where Chennai Super Kings faced off against Gujarat Titans.

Ambani’s JioCinema Signs Multi-Year Deal with NBCUniversal

JioCinema broke the news of the “multi-year” content streaming deal with NBCUniversal on Monday—in a move that will see the Indian public access “thousands of hours” of NBCU content, including movies and TV shows.

JioCinema streaming app | Phot credits CNBC TV

The deal comes barely a month since Viacom18 signed a strategic partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery involving HBO alongside other content like movies and TV shows in the WB catalog, bagging premium rights that have in the past driven traffic to Disney’s Hotstar, TechCrunch reported in April.

The streaming rights announced on Monday means “almost all content” with the exclusion of some library, is now exclusive to India’s affordable platform, JioCinema.

International streaming services in India and the greater South Asia region should be worried as JioCinema continues to bag key international catalogs.

In addition to becoming extremely competitive, the Ambani-backed streaming platform offers a premium subscription service for only $12 per year, compared to Netflix’s $6 a month for a standard plan.

In addition to this, audiences can view some of the basic content on the Jio telecom network for free, although the NBC titles will be offered exclusively to consumers on the $ 12-a-year premium plan.

JioCinema has over the years excelled by poaching highly competitive talent from Disney’s Hotstar.

In what is seen as another strategy to capture the attention of the public, JioCinema is offering free streaming for the popular IPL tournament. If successful, this move could be the start of a new era for audiences across South Asia, Yahoo! news reported on a related matter.

The Rise of Viacom18: A South Asia Media Powerhouse

Viacom18 is a joint venture between Reliance, owned by billionaire Ambani, and Paramount Global. It also has the backing of former Star executives Uday Shankar and James Murdoch’s Bodhi Tree, as earlier mentioned.

Last month, Bodhi Tree rolled back its planned investment in Viacom18 to $528 million, a sharp drop from the original $1.78 billion.

Viacom18’s comprehensive deal with NBCUniversal covers content suite from various sources, including Universal Television, UCP, Universal International Studios, Universal Television Alternative Studio, Sky Studios, DreamWorks Animation, Universal Pictures, Focus Features, and Bravo, the company said in a statement on Monday.

JioCinema vs Disney Hotstar | Photo credits Able

With this partnership, India and the larger South Asia audience can look forward to renowned TV shows such as The Office, Suits, The Mindy Project, Parks and Recreation, and Downton Abbey.

In addition, Viacom18 will offer through JioCinema access to blockbuster franchises with moves like Jurassic, Shrek, Pitch Perfect, and Bourne among others.

JioCinema’s premium subscription will also allow the audience to stream content from the Fast franchise, including FastX, which premiered recently, and the soon-to-be-released Oppenheimer, from Christopher Nolan, the celebrated filmmaker.

Despite the emergence of JioCinema as a competitive streaming platform in the South Asia region, Disney still manages to eke out commendable success.

The global giant, which is airing the game via satellite TV in India, racked up a total of 482 million cumulative views across the first 66 matches, based on data from the industry body, Broadcast Audience Research Council.

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