JioCinema will charge subscription fees after IPL 2023 and add over 100 movies and web series to the platform
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s streaming service will add more than 100 movies and TV series to its platform, building on the popularity of its cricket shows in its bid to take on global giants like Walt Disney and Netflix in the market growing indian.
The expansion will coincide with JioCinema beginning to charge for content, although the exact pricing strategy is still being finalized, Media and Content President Jyoti Deshpande said in an interview. New titles will be rolled out before Indian Premier League cricket ends next month, and viewers will still be able to watch the matches for free, she said.
The sprawling Ambani conglomerate aspires to become a global online media and streaming giant. Last year, Viacom18 Media, a joint venture between Paramount Global and the billionaire’s Reliance Industries, outbid Disney and Sony Group for the digital rights to IPL – one of the fastest growing sporting events in the world, considered as an essential way for any media company to attract eyeballs in India.
The potential audience in India, home to 1.4 billion people and with a growing middle class and expanding internet access, is huge. JioCinema attracted over 1.47 billion video views during the IPL opening weekend in April and drew 22 million viewers for a game on Wednesday.
It remains a tough market for the global streaming platform giants to break into: Netflix has slashed fees to appeal to price-conscious users, while a strong local film culture means Indian viewers can be picky about what they will watch online. Pricing and content are central to JioCinema’s expansion, Deshpande said.
The plan is to “keep pricing simple for viewers,” she said. Currently, the streaming space “is dominated by Westernized content. Jio Studios wants to become a catalyst for cross-pollination of talent. We want to be as Indian as possible,” she said.
This includes rolling out films and series ranging from thrillers and romance to biopics in languages such as Hindi, Marathi, Bengali and Gujarati. It will also release new original films produced by Jio Studios like Dunki by Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan and Section 84 by Amitabh Bachchan. Jio Studios recently announced a multi-year multi-film collaboration with SVF Entertainment for the Bengali market.
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