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Tuesday, 30 May 2023

Ambani’s JioCinema secures NBCUniversal titles, escalates Netflix and Disney rivalry

by Earn Media

JioCinema, the affordable on-demand video streaming service rival to Netflix and Disney’s Hotstar in India, will soon be the home for “The Office” and other NBCUniversal titles.

The Viacom18 streaming service said on Monday it has signed a “multi-year” partnership with NBCUniversal to bring “thousands of hours” of NBCU movies and TV shows to India. The partnership follows Viacom18 bagging the streaming rights for HBO and other Warner Bros. titles for the South Asian market, snatching premium offering that once attracted many to Disney’s Hotstar.

The partnership ensures that “almost all content,” save for some library, is exclusive to JioCinema in India, the company said. 

JioCinema scoring these international catalogs should be cause of concern for global giants. JioCinema, which has over the years poached many high-profile talent from Hotstar, offers the most affordable streaming service among the mainstream firms. Compared to a standard Netflix plan, which costs $6 a month, JioCinema Premium levies a fee of just $12 for a year.

The streaming service, which is home to the highly popular IPL cricket tournament and also offers a free and ad-supported tier, will start releasing the NBC titles on its platform starting next month, in a dedicated Peacock hub, it said. NBC titles will be exclusively available to paying subscribers, said Viacom18.

Viacom18, a joint venture between tycoon Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance and Paramount Global, also counts former Star executives Uday Shankar and James Murdoch’s Bodhi Tree among its backers. Bodhi Tree reduced its planned investment in Viacom18 to $528 million last month, a 70% decrease from the initial commitment of $1.78 billion. Bodhi Tree plans to increase its stake in Viacom18, TechCrunch earlier reported.

Viacom18’s expansive deal with NBCUniversal includes content suite from Universal Television, UCP, Universal International Studios, Universal Television Alternative Studio, Sky Studios, DreamWorks Animation, Universal Pictures, Focus Features, and Bravo, according to a statement from the Indian entity.

The deal includes popular series like The Office, Parks and Recreation, Downton Abbey, Suits, and The Mindy Project, as well as blockbuster franchises such as Jurassic, Bourne, Shrek, The Mummy, and Pitch Perfect. Also, the Fast franchise, featuring the newly released FastX, along with the anticipated title, Oppenheimer, from filmmaker Christopher Nolan, are also set to make their Indian streaming debut on JioCinema in the future.

Ambani’s JioCinema secures NBCUniversal titles, escalates Netflix and Disney rivalry by Manish Singh originally published on TechCrunch

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