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Reliance offers Hollywood movies in India for a rupee a day

JioCinema, owned by Reliance-affiliate Viacom18 Media Pvt, lowered its price by two-thirds to Rs 29 a month.
Last Updated : 25 April 2024, 03:29 IST
Last Updated : 25 April 2024, 03:29 IST

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By P R Sanjai

JioCinema, the Indian streaming service controlled by Reliance Industries Ltd, is offering Hollywood movies and TV shows for as little as Rs 1(US 1.2 cents) a day in a new promotion, while keeping live programming, like cricket matches, free.

The streaming service, owned by Reliance-affiliate Viacom18 Media Pvt, lowered its price by two-thirds to RS 29 a month. The plan includes online and offline viewing, in 4K quality, for foreign movies, TV series and kids programming on any device in five languages, according to Kiran Mani, chief executive officer at Viacom18’s digital division. Local programming will be free with ads.

“We are also offering Rs 89 a month for a family with four simultaneous screen access,” Mani said an interview.

The aggressive pricing of JioCinema is expected to further intensify the competition among international media firms including Netflix Inc, Sony Group Corp and Amazon.com Inc, which are also vying for the country’s 1 billion-plus viewers.

In February, Walt Disney Co and Reliance agreed to merge their media operations in India to create a Rs 70.8 crore ($8.5 billion) entertainment giant in the world’s most-populous country.

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

Last year, Viacom18 Media and Warner Bros Discovery Inc signed a multiyear pact to stream the latter’s exclusive content in India, making shows including Succession and The Last of Us as well as other content from HBO and Max Originals available in the country.

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

JioCinema is also betting big on the Indian Premier League cricket tournament, and is streaming this year’s matches for free. A prized cricket broadcast, which can add millions of subscribers, streamed on a speedy wireless network can be a potent mix for turbocharging Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, India’s No.1 wireless carrier.

“IPL is going to be the catalyst for JioCinema,” said Mani, who formerly ran Google’s Android operations in the Asia Pacific region. “People accessed sports via 12 crore (120 million) screens in India three years ago. This year, India will cross 50 crore (500 million) screens.”

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Published 25 April 2024, 03:29 IST

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