According to people familiar with the matter, billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s company will stream Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket games for free, using its exclusive rights to one of the world’s most-watched sporting events to compete with Walt Disney Co. and Amazon.com Inc. in India’s booming media market.
Details about Mukesh Ambani spent $2.7 billion to stream the IPL for free
Last year, Viacom18 Media Ltd., a joint venture between Paramount Worldwide and Anil Ambani’s company Reliance Industries Ltd., obtained the IPL streaming rights for USD 2.7 billion, defeating rivals Disney and Sony Group Corp. Before, Disney had such rights and used them to entice consumers to its Disney Hotstar streaming service.
According to the persons who declined to be identified because the move has not been publicly publicised, Viacom18 is taking a different approach, offering the games to as many people as possible in order to increase advertising sales.
Google and Facebook are far more popular than for-profit premium services like Netflix, and they generate billions of dollars in advertising revenue for the country.
Viacom18 officials expect that more than 550 million people will watch the weeks-long IPL games, which will boost the conglomerate’s technology and internet aims, which range from online retail to entertainment. This year’s competition will begin on March 31 and last for nearly eight weeks, with each match lasting over three hours. Viacom18 will allow users to watch any number of games for any length of time on any internet-connected device.
Reliance has a well-known game plan because it offered cell service at considerably lower prices than competitors, drawing hundreds of millions of members while forcing competitors out of business. Ambani’s group owns Reliance Jio, the country’s largest telecom operator by market share, with about 500 million users. The five-year IPL arrangement provides it with a one-of-a-kind opportunity to benefit from the Super Bowl of cricket.
Ambani clinched the deal by paying more than three times what Disney had agreed to in the previous agreement. Disney then invested another $3 billion to acquire the regular TV bundle. Ambani launched a joint bid for the IPL rights with Paramount, media billionaire James Murdoch, and former Hotstar CEO Uday Shankar.