Reliance JioCinema takes IPL streaming record amid deeper market moves
Free streaming of the highest-profile match in Indian cricket appears to be part of the evolving ‘flywheel’ powering Reliance Industries’ rise as a giant of media and retail, among many other things.
TechCrunch reports that JioCinema, part of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries, broke Hotstar’s streaming record of 25.3m simultaneous viewers by bringing in 32m for the finale of this year’s Indian Premier League – a victory of the Chennai Super Kings over the Gujarat Titans.
Why it matters
Many other telcos have tried, but the investment in content has often proved too costly. Reliance Industries is betting otherwise, as it streamed the IPL cricket tournament for free following a $3 billion bid for the digital rights to the league between 2022 and 2027. At the opening of the season, rights holders were expected to take a loss, but this can also be read as a big investment.
What has been interesting about Reliance’s JioCinema move is how it could give the company – which requires viewers to be Jio network subscribers, so not totally free – not only a foothold but a grip on mobile life and cement its position as the dominant telco in the country. But it has bigger plans.
The company at large has significant interests in several other sectors, including e-commerce. A recent report from Bernstein, a brokerage firm, notes that Mumbai-headquartered Reliance is in a good position to expand its interest in the fast-growing Indian e-commerce market.
“The advantages of its retail network, mobile network, digital ecosystem and ‘home field advantage’ in a famously complex regulatory and operating environment means, in the long term, it will likely claim the lion’s share of the $150-billion-plus e-commerce marketplace,” reads the report in the Economic Times.
Snacks for the show
Reliance’s expansion doesn’t stop there: adding to its interests in energy, petrochemicals, mass media, telecoms, and textiles, LiveMint reports that Reliance is also moving into the western snacks category of FMCG with the launch of General Mills’ Bugles chips in India.
The report adds that a critical element of the strategy is the network of Reliance Retail (of which the FMCG arm is a wholly owned subsidiary) to power the consumer products business.
Sourced from TechCrunch