The CCI on Monday approved the merger of the Jio Cinema OTT platform with Viacom 18 Media
Viacom18 is reportedly preparing to test its OTT sports app with the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. According to well-placed sources, the company’s ad sales executives are offering a new app as a streaming destination for the tournament.
Following the launch of the new app this year, the exclusive sports content platform will likely host Indian Premier League (IPL) matches from 2023.
During the parent company’s quarterly earnings call, Paramount Global chief Robert Bakish alluded to it. He said, “It (IPL) will be part of a streaming offering for the Indian market that Viacom18 will launch in 2023.”
In a related development, the Competition Commission of India announced on Twitter on Monday that it had approved the “merger of Jio Cinema OTT platform with Viacom 18 Media, following an investment by BTS (Bodhi Tree Systems ) Investment and Reliance Projects & Property Management Services.”
This approval transfers the Jio Cinema application from Reliance to Viacom18 which already operates Voot – a video streaming platform.
In April 2022, Bodhi Tree Systems backed by James Murdoch and Uday Shankar entered into a strategic partnership with Viacom18 and announced an investment of Rs 13,500 crore in Viacom18. Reliance Projects & Property Management Services, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, has pledged an investment of Rs 1,645 crore.
Until now, all sports content was streamed on Viacom18’s OTT app – Voot. This should change with the introduction of the new app.
Sources also suggest that in the initial phase of this year, the app could be a fully AVoD platform. Senior media executives are concerned about whether or not a new platform will be able to attract new users for a prominent media property, such as the FIFA World Cup.
In June 2022, Reliance Industries (RIL), Bodhi Tree and Paramount-backed Viacom18 offered Rs 23,758 crore to acquire the IPL digital media rights for the Indian subcontinent. It has also secured the league’s international media rights for markets including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the Caribbean, South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, the UK, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Continental Europe, for Rs 595 crore.
Earlier this year, Viacom18 launched Sports18, a sports channel. Sports18 Khel a free channel for sports content in Hindi. Sports18 streams several international sports properties including NBA, LaLiga, Ligue1, Serie A, Abu Dhabi T10, BWF and ATP.
An email to the Sports18 team from afaqs! on this development, remained unanswered until the time of publication of this article.