JioCinema to Charge Subscription Fee After IPL 2023, Will Add Over 100 Films and Web Series to Platform

JioCinema is streaming IPL 2023 for free at up to Ultra-HD resolution on its apps

JioCinema to Charge Subscription Fee After IPL 2023, Will Add Over 100 Films and Web Series to Platform

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JioCinema will take on global giants like Walt Disney and Netflix in India

  • JioCinema will roll out new titles before the end of the IPL 2023
  • Viewers will be able to watch matches for free
  • JioCinema drew more than 1.47 billion views in the opening weekend of IPL

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani's streaming service will add more than 100 films and TV series to its platform, building on the popularity of its cricket broadcasts in its push to take on global giants like Walt Disney and Netflix in the fast-growing Indian market.

The expansion will coincide with JioCinema starting to charge for content, though the exact pricing strategy is still being finalized, media and content business President Jyoti Deshpande said in an interview. New titles will be rolled out before the end of the Indian Premier League cricket next month, and viewers will still be able to watch matches for free, she said.

Ambani's sprawling conglomerate has aspirations to become a global media and online streaming behemoth. Last year, Viacom18 Media a joint venture between Paramount Global and the billionaire's Reliance Industries, outbid Disney and Sony Group to clinch the digital rights to IPL — one of the world's fastest-growing sports events that's seen as a critical way for any media company to lure eyeballs in India.

The potential viewership in India, home to 1.4 billion people and with a growing middle class and expanding internet access, is immense. JioCinema drew more than 1.47 billion video views during the opening weekend of the IPL in April, and had 22 million viewers for a match on Wednesday.

It remains a market that's been hard to crack for global streaming platform giants: Netflix has cut its fees to lure price-conscious users, while a robust local cinema-going culture means Indian viewers can be picky in what they'll watch online. Both price and content are at the front of mind in JioCinema's expansion, said Deshpande.

The plan is to “keep tariffs 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 get as Indian as it can,” she said.

That includes rolling out films and series from thrillers and romance to biopics in languages including Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, and Gujarati. It will also release new and original movies produced by Jio Studios like Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan's Dunki and Amitabh Bachchan's Section 84. Jio Studios has recently announced a multi-year, multi-film collaboration with SVF Entertainment for the Bengali market.

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Further reading: JioCinema, Reliance, IPL, Disney
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