mukesh ambani at jio

Mukesh Ambani’s Jio platform is disrupting the Indian streaming industry by streaming IPL matches for free, with the aim to kill off its OTT rivals. JioCinema’s strategy has already achieved some mind-blowing statistics since March 31st, including over 147 crore views and 5 crore new app downloads in just 3 days.

Additionally, it claims to have overtaken the total viewership of last season on Disney+ Hotstar, with new viewership standing at 10 crore. On opening day, the app touched the peak viewership of 1.6 crore at a time.

Despite initial glitches, JioCinema’s average time spent per viewer per match is 57 minutes, a 60% jump from last season on Hotstar. This is due to the platform’s unique features like a 4K feed, 12 language coverage, and 16 unique feeds, hype mode, and multicam setup, which have received lots of love from fans.

The platform has also benefited from endorsements by cricketers like MS Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar, who have promoted JioCinema for exclusivity and criticized TV. Additionally, people have fallen into the trap of using Jio’s services for free.

JioCinema is set to acquire 60% of ad sales this season, which is around $350 million, making it the first time digital ad revenue has crossed TV advertising revenue.

JioCinema has already partnered with 21 brands such as Dream11, PhonePe, Amazon, Rapido, Puma, and others. However, the entry of JioCinema may suppress the growth of the subscription-based video market by 10-15%.

Mota Bhai’s strategy is breaking business models of OTTs in several ways. For one, offering India’s most popular tournament for free is a massive setback for OTT platforms as average revenue per user (ARPU) may fall.

Indian OTT platforms are already struggling as their ARPU is below the global average, and Hotstar has lost 3.8 million subscribers and rights to IPL, HBO, and F1.

Netflix has focused on originals, and Jio’s free streaming decision has forced Star to make 12 key IPL matches available across its channel Star Utsav.

As Star paid Rs 23575 crore for streaming rights, it is looking tough to recover it as TV ad revenue is on a decline.

In metros, OTT penetration has reached more than 79%, and the biggest market in India is non-metros where freebies work best because the audience always chooses affordable options.

With FIFA World Cup 2022 and WPL 2023, JioCinema has already captured a huge amount of OTT users, and it’s predicted that IPL 2023 digital viewership will go up to 500 million for JioCinema.

This may help JioCinema to compete with YouTube and Facebook in the digital video advertising market in the future. However, the question remains: can OTT platforms survive the JioCinema storm?

One thought on “JioCinema’s Free IPL Streaming Strategy: Disrupting the Indian OTT Market”
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