Reliance and Viacom18 have partnered with Bodhi Tree Systems— a platform run by James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems and Uday Shankar, to float an entity with stakes in TV and streaming, according to a press release by Reliance. Viacom18, a joint venture between Reliance’s Network18 and U.S. media conglomerate Viacom, runs 38 channels including Colors TV and OTT platform VOOT in India. As part of the deal, Bodhi Tree Systems, along with a consortium of investors, will invest Rs.13,500 crores (roughly $1.78 billion) in Viacom18 to help pivot Indian media to a “streaming-first” approach, the release added. Reliance added that it will be investing Rs. 1,645 crores ($216 million) through its subsidiary— Reliance Projects & Property Management Services Limited— in Viacom18. It will also be handing over its on-demand streaming service JioCinema OTT to Viacom18. https://twitter.com/CNBCTV18Live/status/1519525179684429824 ColorsTV is considered to be among the top four general entertainment channels in India. The other three are Star, Sony, and Zee. It is likely that the deal with Bodhi Tree was to fend off the challenge posed by the merger between Sony and Zee. The move reinforces the growing trend of consolidation among Indian streaming companies as the bump supplied by COVID-19 tapers. The partnership can impact the streaming landscape significantly as it may help Viacom18 mount a challenge against existing streaming companies. What does it mean for IPL broadcast rights? The deal may help Viacom18 present a formidable challenge to acquire the rights to broadcast the Indian Premier League (IPL) as the BCCI invited…
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