Daily Management Review

JioCinema Pricing And Local Programming Are In Focus Following The Reliance-Warner Agreement


JioCinema Pricing And Local Programming Are In Focus Following The Reliance-Warner Agreement
In order to compete with Netflix and Disney in India, Mukesh Ambani, the richest man in Asia, is expected to concentrate his video streaming firm on local content and price after signing a deal with Warner Bros.
Popular HBO and Warner Bros. series like Harry Potter and Succession will be accessible starting next month on the JioCinema platform, which Ambani's Viacom18 has been promoting for weeks by providing well-known IPL cricket events for free.
According to a source in the business, internal discussions on JioCinema's pricing approach are still ongoing, although Ambani has a history of undercutting competitors in the price-sensitive Indian market.
In 2016, he gave away mobile data, making his Jio telecom business the leader in India. He is using a similar marketing approach to Coca-Cola and Nestle to promote his consumer goods.
There were no comments on the issue available from Viacom18, Reliance Industries' TV business owned by Anil Ambani. In addition, Paramount Global and Bodhi Tree, a partnership between James Murdoch and Uday Shankar, a former senior Disney executive, are stockholders in the company.
Industry leaders and media analysts claim that the Warner agreement will strengthen Viacom18's already announced efforts to "disrupt and innovate" the market and help draw in India's elite English-speaking population.
A piece of the video streaming business, which, according to a 2021 analysis by Indian lobby group CII and the Boston Consulting Group, is predicted to increase by 22%–25% annually to reach $13–$15 billion by 2030, is at stake.
In contrast, Statista projects an 8.63% annual growth for the U.S. market, which is anticipated to reach $54.66 billion by 2027.
JioCinema's current free offerings are primarily comprised of outdated Hindi and regional language films, in contrast to Netflix and other competitors that brag of having content made specifically for the Indian market. In terms of sports, it currently owns IPL cricket streaming rights through 2027, and in March it acquired exclusive rights for the MotoGP in India.
Lack of new local and international programming is JioCinema's main problem, which will only get worse as the IPL season comes to an end next month.
A second industry source told the media on Friday that JioCinema is in talks with several production companies and has plans to release scores of TV episodes and films in Hindi and other languages on the platform in the upcoming months.
"There are many Indias within India. While IPL is for the masses, partnership with Warner is a precursor to JioCinema's entry into the premium subscription segment," said Mihir Shah, vice president at Media Partners Asia.
Former country head of Amazon's Prime Video in India, Nitesh Kripalani, predicted that Reliance's venture will close more such partnerships, but that pricing would remain a crucial factor.
"India is a value conscious market. For any media business, anywhere in the world - you need to get consumers to pay. Advertising can only pay so much," he said.
By releasing exclusive films and web series starring Bollywood celebrities, Netflix, Amazon, and Disney Hotstar have become well-known in India. Additionally, they have expanded into regional local language content.
According to Media Partners, which doesn't have data on JioCinema's free service, Netflix, which offers the most expensive subscription plans, now has just 8 million subscribers, Amazon has 17 million, and Disney, which formerly held the digital rights to the IPL, is in first place with 49 million.
Vice President of Elara Capital in India, Karan Taurani, lamented that JioCinema's success will depend on the calibre of its programming.
"They may make so many films and series but (what if) more than 70-80% of them bomb? The only way to scale up is to really differentiate your content and make sure execution is right," he said.