Thursday saw the completion of a trifecta of cricket rights, including the men's Indian Premier League, women's IPL, and Team India's bilateral matches. Reliance Industries-backed media company Viacom18 secured the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) TV and digital rights for Team India's bilateral cricket matches across T20, ODI, and Test formats for the 2023-28 cycle.
In a tweet on Thursday evening, BCCI Secretary Jay Shah said: “Congratulations Viacom18 for winning the BCCI Media Rights for both linear and digital for the next 5 years. India Cricket will continue to grow in both spaces as after IPL and WPLT20, we extend the partnership BCCI Media Rights as well. Together we will continue to capture the imagination of (Indian) cricket fans.”
Although the price at which it was sold has not yet been made public, it is largely anticipated to be a replay of what happened at the June 2022 auction for the broadcasting rights to the premier cricket league, the Indian Premier League. In the IPL auction, the digital rights to the matches were sold for a higher price than the TV rights, demonstrating the audience's shifting viewing choices.
The IPL broadcasting rights were sold by BCCI in June 2022 for a staggering Rs 48,390 crore. For the 2023–2027 cycle, it divided the rights for the first time into digital and TV bundles. For a bid of Rs 23,575 crore, Disney Star got the India TV rights, and for Rs 23,758 crore, Reliance-backed Viacom18 (which controls the JioCinema app) acquired the digital rights. Prior to then, Star India (now known as Disney Star after the merger of the two media behemoths) and its streaming service Disney+ Hotstar owned the rights to the IPL on TV and digitally.
In 2017, BCCI sold the IPL rights for Rs 16,347 billion over five years. The rights were tripled in price and sold for a further five years in 2022 for Rs 48,390 crore. For Rs 6,193 crore, the bilateral cricket media rights were auctioned in 2018. The prices for the current cycle will show just how much the IPL's exploding popularity has affected the value of other cricket formats, such as T20I, ODI, and Test matches.
To draw viewers as it expands its digital platform JioCinema, Viacom 18, which allegedly defeated Disney Star and Sony Sports to secure the bilateral rights, now has another tool at its disposal. For Rs 23,758 crore, Viacom18 purchased the cricket IPL internet rights for the 2023–27 seasons.
To attract more viewers to its platform before it could start charging them, it aired the 2023 cricket IPL for free to all JioCinema app users across telecom networks. Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries, stated that 45 crore users turned into the platform to watch the IPL in his recent speech at the company's AGM on August 28.
JioCinema made its first venture into original content just as the IPL 2023 season came to a close in May 2023. Jio Studios, the media and content division of Reliance Industries, announced more than 100 films, original web series, and mini-series, many of which were created just for the OTT platform.
In order to bring their films and TV shows to India, it has also formed original content partnerships with HBO and NBCUniversal. It has also launched a premium pricing plan for Rs 999 per year that grants access to premium Hollywood content on up to four devices, though live sports and entertainment in the country's native tongue are free.