Reliance BIG Entertainment, an Anil Ambani company, has acquired a 75% stake in Willow.tv, an online Cricket streaming site. WSJ adds that Reliance will spend $60 million to $70 million on the acquisition and expansion of the portal. Willow.tv claims a million registered users, but that number doesn’t mean a thing without their prized assets – the America rights for streaming Cricket matches. They own the rights to stream Indian Premier League (IPL) matches in the Americas for the next five years.
Thus, Reliance Entertainment has also acquired the IPL streaming rights for the Americas for the next five years.
Around the time that they announced the IPL deal, Willow had also tied up with Reliance Entertainment company BIGFlix for “Ticket to Cricket“, offering US based customers coupons for watching Cricket matches on Willow.tv. I wonder if the talks for the deal germinated around that time, or whether the deal had already been done, and is only being announced now.
How Will Reliance Leverage This Acquisition?
Reliance Entertainment will use the “Network Effect” that Network18 keeps talking about – try to sell combo offers for Cricket, with India Calling Cards or BIGFlix. Willow already has ads from BIGFlix and Reliance Global Call.