JioCinema is making bold moves in the digital entertainment landscape with sources within the company estimating that its programming budget for this year ranges between a whopping ₹3,500-₹4,000 crores.
What Happened? Per a Hindustan Times report, this sizable figure promises to disrupt the market, considering the total online video content investment in India was ₹8,200 crore in 2022, according to a FICCI-EY report.
As more people turned to online video during the lockdown, JioCinema seized the opportunity, first offering free streaming of the Indian Premier League (IPL), then bolstering its English language content. It acquired rights to HBO series from Warner Bros’ Discovery, shows from Max Originals, current and future Warner Bros. blockbusters, and films and TV series from NBC Universal.
This premium content isn’t available for free, though. Instead, JioCinema targets wealthy customers with a paywall. Meanwhile, it keeps mass viewers hooked with free content, like its own production, “Bloody Daddy”, starring Shahid Kapoor.
Industry talk: Anuj Gandhi, a media industry expert, warns that the competition won’t ease anytime soon, especially with the forthcoming BCCI auction for cricket matches in India. Streaming platforms will fiercely vie for these sports broadcasting rights.
Mrinalini Khanna, vice president of Originals at Lionsgate India, believes that sports and live events will transform over-the-top (OTT) content consumption, as evidenced by the IPL’s move from Hotstar to JioCinema and Disney+Hotstar’s decision to stream the Asia Cup and the Men's ICC Cricket World Cup for free later this year.
However, a Disney Star executive doesn’t expect a universal rise in content budgets, stating that JioCinema is the one needing to catch up. Following the IPL, JioCinema’s daily active users dropped from 65 million to around 15-18 million, but this is still an improvement over Voot’s figures of 4 million users, which has now merged with JioCinema.
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