Reliance-backed Viacom18 to bring HBO content to India in Warner Bros. partnership

Warner Bros. Discovery has found a new partner to bring HBO content to India: Mukesh Ambani-backed Viacom18.

HBO Original, Max Original and other Warner Bros. television series will arrive on JioCinema next month and will air shows “on the same day as the U.S.,” Warner Bros. and Viacom18 said in a statement.

The “exclusive” content deal is a major win for JioCinema, which has courted tens of millions of users in recent weeks after securing the rights to IPL cricket tournament in the country.

The Thursday deal is a blow to Disney, whose Hotstar app won customers on the back of cricket popularity and premium content from HBO.

JioCinema has poached aggressively from Hotstar in recent months. The firm recently also appointed former Disney executive Kevin Vaz as Viacom18 CEO.

“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,” said Ferzad Palia, Head – SVOD & International Business, Viacom18, in a statement.

“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.”

Industry analysts were widely expecting Amazon, which offers a number of on-demand video streaming services in India, to tie-up with Warner Bros. for HBO content. Amazon is also currently in advanced stages of deliberations to acquire MX Player, a popular video streaming service in India, TechCrunch reported earlier.

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