With the IPL tournament drawing record viewers, JioCinema aims to start premiering some of its web originals soon and charge users for it. Its big plans come as Netflix and Disney+ Hotstar face challenges in India.
What happened: Jio Studios, the media and content arm of Reliance Industries, has announced over 100+ stories across genres of films, original web series, and mini-originals across Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, south Indian languages, and Bhojpuri.
The studio has also entered a multi-year, multi-film deal with SVF Entertainment for content involving popular actors such as Mithun Chakraborty and Dhrubo Banerjee.
Why it matters: JioCinema, the streaming app exclusive digital streaming partner for IPL, is venturing into original content with Jio Studios' recent announcement.
The move is aimed at turning the free app into a paid service and earning a larger slice of the growing but challenging Indian streaming space.
JioCinema has been drawing record numbers of viewers to its platform due to the cricket IPL, which Reliance-backed Viacom18 is airing for free on the app.
The big picture: JioCinema is planning to premiere at least some of its web originals soon when it still has IPL viewers. This move comes while global giants such as Netflix and Disney+ Hotstar have been facing a tough time in India amid global headwinds.
JioCinema is in an intense battle with Disney Star, as it has not only pipped Disney+ Hotstar to win the digital rights for the 2023-27 cycle, but with Disney Star continuing to hold the TV rights, a larger TV vs Digital contest is playing out in this IPL season.
Between the lines: JioCinema's big plans for its OTT business, backed by deep-pocketed parent Reliance Industries, are aimed at building synergies in its multi-pronged media businesses. Jio Studios' announcement of over 100+ stories is aimed at scaling what is traditionally a very fragmented industry.
Flashback: JioCinema was launched in 2016 as a part of Jio's digital entertainment platform. The platform offers a wide range of Indian movies, TV shows, and music videos for free.
By the numbers: JioCinema claims to have had over 375 crore views in the opening week of IPL, with the first weekend alone amassing 147 crore views.
Reliance-backed Viacom18 won the digital rights for the 2023-27 cycle for Rs 23,758 crore, while Disney Star won India TV rights for a bid of Rs 23,575 crore.
What they're saying: "We are in the most exciting and eventful phase of Indian entertainment, with storytelling taking center stage in an era of explosive digital disruption.
Since its inception five years ago, Jio Studios has worked very hard to lay solid foundations in scaling what is traditionally a very fragmented industry," said Jyoti Deshpande, President - RIL Media and Content Business.
Catch up quick: Jio Studios has announced over 100+ stories across genres of films, original web series, and mini-originals across various Indian languages. The move is aimed at scaling what is traditionally a very fragmented industry. JioCinema, the exclusive digital streaming partner for IPL, is venturing into original content with Jio Studios' recent announcement. The move is aimed at turning the free app into a paid service and earning a larger slice of the growing but challenging Indian streaming space.