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April 25, 2024

Reliance’s JioCinema Revolutionizes Indian Streaming: Hollywood Movies for a Penny a Day

Reliance’s JioCinema is making waves in the Indian streaming market by offering Hollywood movies and TV shows for as little as one rupee (US 1.2 cents) a day. The streaming service, controlled by Reliance Industries Ltd. and owned by Reliance-affiliate Viacom18 Media Pvt., has slashed its prices by two-thirds to just Rs 29 a month, aiming to capture a larger share of India’s burgeoning streaming audience.

Kiran Mani, CEO of Viacom18’s digital division, highlighted that the plan includes online and offline viewing, in 4K quality, for foreign movies, TV series, and kids programming in five languages. Additionally, local programming will be available for free with ads. JioCinema also offers a family plan for Rs 89 a month, allowing four simultaneous screen accesses.

This aggressive pricing strategy is expected to intensify competition among international media giants like Netflix Inc., Sony Group Corp., and Amazon.com Inc., all vying for India’s massive audience of over 1 billion viewers. The recent merger between Walt Disney Co. and Reliance further underscores the fierce competition in India’s entertainment industry, creating an $8.5 billion entertainment giant in the country.

“We want to make JioCinema as affordable and widely available for Indians as possible to make it a daily viewing habit for family members,” said Mani.

Last year, Viacom18 Media and Warner Bros Discovery Inc. struck a multiyear pact to stream exclusive content in India, bringing popular shows like Succession and The Last of Us, as well as content from HBO and Max Originals, to Indian viewers.

“We have the largest library of kids content here. We have probably one of the best libraries of Hollywood content,” Mani emphasized. “We find increasingly that people watch shows like House of the Dragon and Oppenheimer in their local language.”

JioCinema is also capitalizing on the popularity of the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament by streaming this year’s matches for free. With cricket being a beloved sport in India, particularly the IPL, this move is expected to attract millions of viewers and potentially add millions of subscribers to Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., India’s No.1 wireless carrier.

“IPL is going to be the catalyst for JioCinema,” said Mani, who previously led Google’s Android operations in the Asia Pacific region. “Three years ago, people accessed sports via 120 million screens in India. This year, India will cross 500 million screens.”

With its affordable pricing, diverse content library, and strategic partnerships, JioCinema is poised to revolutionize the Indian streaming landscape, offering unparalleled entertainment options to Indian viewers at a fraction of the cost.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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