Reliance Jio and Star India have signed a 5-year partnership to broadcast all televised cricket matches (T20, one-day international and test matches and BCCI’s domestic competitions) on JioTV and Hotstar. The service will be free to Jio prime users, but customers of Hotstar will have to purchase a premier membership, which costs Rs 199 per month or Rs 999 per year to watch this content.

This deal will finally enable Jio to telecast cricket content on its platform after it failed to secure the TV broadcast and digital rights for all international and domestic cricket played in India. At that auction held in April, Star India outbid Jio and Sony to secure these media rights for a whopping Rs 6,138.1 crore for five years.

Star India also has all media rights for the Indian Premier League (IPL) which it won for Rs 16,347.50 crore (around $2.55 billion) in September 2017; all tournaments organized by the International Cricket Council, including the Cricket World Cup, and all matches of the Asia Cricket Council from 2016 to 2023.

ZEEL-Jio deals

The Jio-Hotstar partnership comes at a time when ZEEL and Jio were at loggerheads about pricing: Jio TV used to broadcast content from ZEEL after both signed a 2 year contract. This included 35 live TV channels and over 200,000 hours of video on demand content. Due to the disagreements, ZEEL removed all its content from Jio TV. Thereafter, ZEEL decided to go with a content sharing partnership with Bharti Airtel. As of earlier this month, it seems that ZEEL is considering listing on Jio TV again.

Jio’s big bets on content

Jio has been making significant investments to procure content on its OTT platforms in the last few months.

  • Jio’s parent company Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) bought music streaming platform Saavn for $104 million.
  • It also signed a multi-year deal with Roy Kapur Films (RKF) to produce original content and acquire film rights for Jio TV and acquired a stake in Eros International.

In terms of competition, JioTv and Hotstar will be against the likes of ZEE5, Airtel TV, YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc, besides domestic players like Voot, AltBalaji, Vodafone Play, etc. Times group, too, with its recent acquisition of MX Player is planning to begin streaming exclusive content as an OTT platform. Also, Instagram recently announced its entry into long-form video with a new app IGTV, which will also run as a separate tab within the Instagram app.