Audience emerges as real winner in the race for OTT sector dominance

Audience emerges as real winner in the race for OTT sector dominance

Illustration shows JioCinema logo

JioCinema has added another ace to its kitty by bagging the media rights of the BCCI’s home international games. Viacom18 has bagged the media rights for both TV and digital at a price of Rs 67.8 crore per game. This means that another huge disruption will follow in the cricket watching sphere in the country as JioCinema and Sports18 channel have both emerged as dominant forces in a short span of time.

It should be kept in mind that JioCinema had already created uproar in the OTT world by announcing its decision to livestream IPL 2023 for free, and following up on its commitment.
This led to Disney+ Hotstar recently announcing that the ongoing Asia Cup and the upcoming World Cup would be streamed for free. In short, it was done to counter JioCinema’s growing dominance and to attract some more viewers – after repeated blows to its subscriber base.
The recent acquisition of BCCI’s media rights by Viacom18 will lead to several problems for the OTT players in the country, but it’s the fans who are emerging victorious – at least in the short run.

JioCinema could very easily go ahead with its modus operandi of offering matches for free going forward, and this would lead to a lopsided domination of the platform in the OTT sector. The plethora of content available on JioCinema – which now also offers hit series like ‘Game of Thrones’ and others from the house of Warner Bros, HBO and more – is growing fast and there is a subscriber mechanism in place.

The Reliance-owned OTT medium has taken the route of amassing huge numbers instead of going for a high subscription price, and it seems to be paying off. A basic Netflix subscription, for mobile only viewing, costs approximately Rs 1,788 in India. Hotstar, on the other hand, charges Rs 899/year as subscription for viewing on TV or laptop. While JioCinema lies midway, with it charging Rs 999/year, between Hotstar and Netflix, what works in its favor is the huge cap in mobile connections.

JioCinema has also smartly set its sight on OTT dominance, starting with cricket, and is acquiring the streaming rights – be it IPL or BCCI’s. It also offers a lot of series and movies, which although show ads, but are free to watch for the masses, a feature which both its top competitors lack. This also means that the advertisers will likely flock in numbers to JioCinema in the days ahead.

While the complete transition of JioCinema from AVOD to SVOD might be far away, but it is surely amping up its presence in the OTT sector and will pose new challenges for the other players. The fans, for now at least, can relax and enjoy the fight for dominance. This also means that better content is also going to be put forth by all the platforms in order to woo audiences, which is again a plus for all the people in the country.