‘Succession’, ‘The White Lotus’, other HBO content to stream on JioCinema from May

A new multi-year deal has been struck between Warner Bros Discovery (which owns HBO) with broadcast venture of India's Reliance, Viacom 18, which will make JioCinema India the new streaming home of its HBO content

HBO, Reliance Jio Cinema deal, Succession
A still from 'Succession', season 4: HBO content will be available to stream from Reliance's JioCinema app from May and signals the Indian company’s push to bring popular, unrivalled Hollywood content onto their platform.

In a significant development in the highly competitive streaming space, starting May,  HBO’s globally acclaimed series like ‘Succession’, the Emmy award winning ‘The White Lotus’, the post-apocalypse series ‘The Last of Us’, and returning seasons of ‘True Detective: Night Country’, ‘Euphoria’, and Perry Mason, will now be available on Reliance’s JioCinema.

Warner Bros Discovery (which owns HBO, which pioneered modern pay television in the USA and today is synonymous with classy, premium content) has officially announced a new “multi-year” deal with the broadcast venture of India’s Reliance, Viacom 18, which will make JioCinema India the new streaming home of its HBO content.

Besides JioCinema will also get access to Warner Bros. blockbuster movies and a vast film library including ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Lord of the Rings’ and DC Universe movies, as well kids’ animation titles like ‘Dexter’s Laboratory’ and Tom and Jerry Kids.

HBO content will be available to stream from Reliance’s JioCinema app from May and signals the company’s push to bring popular, unrivalled Hollywood content onto their platform.

According to media reports, the deal that has been struck between Viacom 18 and Warner Bros Discovery Inc is an exclusive one and Warner cannot offer its titles to rivals Amazon Video or Disney+Hotstar.

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HBO and Disney+Hotstar part ways

In March 31, Disney Star, the Indian unit of the Walt Disney Co., had snapped its longstanding content deal with Warner Bros. Discovery, which had led to 144 HBO Originals, including popular series like ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘House of the Dragons’, ‘The Last of Us’, and ‘Succession’, been removed from their platform.

Leading business dailies had reported then that the deal had fallen through because Disney+Hotstar and Warner Bros Discovery could not agree on the “value of the content”. Earlier this month, in a social media post, Disney+Hotstar informed its users that the HBO content would move out of the platform.

“Starting 31 March, HBO content will be unavailable on Disney+Hotstar. You can continue enjoying Disney+ Hotstar’s vast library of content spanning over 100,000 hours of TV Shows and Movies in 10 languages and coverage of major global sporting events.”

Jio Cinema gets popular with IPL

OTT viewers will now have to subscribe to JioCinema if they want to view their favourite series from HBO. It is expected that this content deal could bring in thousands of hours of streaming content onto JioCinema.

JioCinema platform has become popular because it has been streaming the IPL cricket tournament this season for free. In fact, Viacom18 bagged the IPL digital streaming rights from 2023 to 2027 for around $2.9 billion, which was held previously by Disney.

Viacom18 recently received an investment of $528 million from Bodhi Tree, a joint venture between James Murdoch and former Star India executive, Uday Shankar.

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The impact of the content deal

This deal between Viacom 18 and Warner Bros Discovery is expected to give a strong push to JioCinema, which is currently a relatively small player compared to Netflix and Amazon. According to reports, it is Netflix that dominates the subscription video-on-demand market with a 39 per cent share by revenue in 2021, compared to its nearest competitor, Hotstar, which has a 23 per cent share.

According to a press statement, as part of the agreement between Viacom 18 and Warner Bros Discovery, other highly anticipated HBO Original series including ‘The Idol’, ‘White House Plumbers’, ‘The Sympathizer’ and ‘The Regime’ and other shows like ‘Sex & The City’, ‘Big Little Lies’, ‘Chernobyl’ and ‘Veep’, will now stream on JioCinema.

From the stable of HBO’s Max Originals, JioCinema will become the place to view its highly anticipated premieres such as ‘Dune: The Sisterhood’, The Batman spinoff ‘The Penguin’, and ‘Duster’, as well as much-loved Warner Bros. Television series like ‘East New York’ and ‘Gotham Knights’.

Ferzad Palia, head – SVOD & International Business, Viacom18, said, “JioCinema has become the biggest platform for live sports. We are now on a mission to build the most magnetic destination for entertainment for all Indians. The strategic partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery is a big milestone in our journey to offer the best of Hollywood content to our elite consumers. We believe that Warner Bros. Discovery sets the global standards for premium content and this partnership allows us to create the best and the most comprehensive destination for our users.”