Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio’s plan to take on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hotstar has to wait


  • According to an ET report, Mukesh Ambani’s Jio has slowed down its plans to acquire and produce original content for web series and films are pending management approval
  • Jio which also has plans to go public to raise money, is awaiting some fund flow before it can get into the business.
  • Jio’s content platform Jio Cinema is miles away in popularity from the reigning trio—Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar.
Reliance Jio’s plan was never to just sell data, but to take over the entire content universe. In fact, long before it launched in the 4G services, Reliance Industries was a part of a multi-layered deal between Network 18 and Enaadu TV, adding scores of movies, TV series along with news channels under its fold.

Yet, it looks like its core telecom business has taken precedence over its plans to grow in the content space. According to an Economic Times report, Mukesh Ambani’s Jio has slowed down its plans to acquire and produce original content for web series and films are pending management approval. These plans are on hold until funds flow into this business.

As content business is capital intensive, Jio which also has plans to go public to raise money, is awaiting some fund flow before it can get into the business. “The plans are ready and the teams are in place, but the hold-up is in the investments (into Jio) ,” sources told Economic Times.

This is in spite of Mukesh Ambani’s statement at the annual general meeting last year. Their video consumption went up to 3.4 billion hours per month from 1.6 billion hours in 2018. “Doubling of these metrics at such scale is truly unparalleled. Our customers are actively engaged with us for more than 290 minutes per day on an average,” Ambani said at 2018 AGM.

It is only natural that he brings this content viewership also home, into his own apps to create more value. But that dream is a bit far off.

Netflix, Amazon & Hotstar

Jio has made few strides in the OTT space, after it acquired music app Saavn in 2018, and also saying that it would invest $100 million in it. The merged entity now has since been rebranded as JioSaavn, which claims to have 50 million songs in its kitty.

Jio also has its own content platform, Jio Cinema which has movies along with TV series and clips. In spite of showcasing old TV series, movies and even new-age web series produced by AltBalaji, it is miles away in popularity from the reigning trio—Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar.

In addition, international content providers or OTT platforms are also going the extra mile to produce original India content, making it tougher for a newer Indian player to hold attention. These international players are putting money and star power behind their original content.

While Netflix launched Leila starring Huma Quereshi in addition to ultra popular Saif Ali Khan-starrer Sacred Games and movies like Chopsticks which starred Abhay Deol, Amazon Prime too has spent millions on its new-age web show called Made in Heaven, Mirzapur after Four More Shots Please.

Hotstar too launched its original series Hostages starring Tisca Chopra and Criminal Justice with actor Vikrant Massey. It is also doing an Indian version of popular US show The Office in Hindi.

With this kind of money flowing into original content, delayed plans may affect Jio’s plans to have a lion’s share of digital offerings in the market.
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