INDIA: In order to compete with Walt Disney Co. and Amazon.com Inc. in India’s burgeoning media sector, billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s organization will webcast Indian Premier League (IPL) matches for free, according to multiple sources.
Ambani to stream IPL for free
Viacom18 Media Pvt. has licensed the IPL streaming rights for $2.7 billion (Rs 23,758 crore) , beating out rivals Sony Group Corp. and Disney.
Viacom18 Media Pvt. is a joint venture between Paramount Global and Ambani’s megacorp Reliance Industries Ltd. Formerly, Disney held the rights and made use of them to increase the streaming service Disney Hotstar’s subscriber base.
The sources, who asked to remain anonymous because the decision hasn’t been made public, claimed that Viacom18 is adopting a different strategy and making the games available to as many users as possible in order to increase advertising sales.
Compared to for-profit premium items like Netflix, free media platforms like Google and Facebook produce billions of dollars in advertising revenue for the nation.
The IPL games will bolster the conglomerate’s internet and technology goals, spanning from online retail to entertainment, according to Viacom18 officials, who predict that more than 550 million people will watch the games over the course of its seven-week duration.
This year’s round of matches, which last only about three hours each, will begin on March 31 and last for over eight weeks. Users of Viacom18 will be able to watch as many games as they want for as long as they want on any internet-connected device.
In order to attract hundreds of millions of users and drive competitors out of business, Reliance offered mobile services at prices that were significantly lower than those of the competition.
Reliance Jio, the nation’s largest telecom operator by market share, is owned by Ambani’s conglomerate and is rapidly approaching a half-billion users. It has a unique opportunity to profit from a competition dubbed the Super Bowl of cricket because of the five-year IPL contract.
As more media companies competed for cricket rights to expand their fledgling streaming operations, the price of these rights skyrocketed last year.
India’s rate of internet usage is accelerating, and both domestic and international media behemoths are looking to it as a springboard to expand their subscriber bases.
Disney, who had previously held the IPL streaming rights, was unsuccessful in that auction but succeeded in winning the TV broadcast rights by outwitting Sony.
After completing the first auction papers, Amazon, another competitor, withdrew from the offers in the final hour. Ambani prevailed by offering a price that was roughly three times what Disney had in the previous agreement.
Disney then paid an additional sum, roughly $3 billion, for the standard TV package. Together with Paramount, James Murdoch, a multibillionaire, and Uday Shankar, the former CEO of Hotstar, Ambani made a bid for the IPL rights.
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