Warner Bros Discovery has signed a multi-year licensing agreement with Viacom18 under which its JioCinema service will become the new streaming home for HBO, Max Original and Warner Bros content in India from next month.
The partnership, which includes exclusive digital and linear content rights, covers HBO series such as Dragon House, The last of us, Succession And The White Lotus; Max Original series including And just like that…, Peacemaker And The stewardess; and upcoming movies and library titles from Warner Bros, including Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings and the DC Universe movies.
The deal with JioCinema replaces the streaming partnership Warner Bros. Discovery previously had with Disney+ Hotstar for India, which ended March 31, when Disney opted not to renew the long-term licensing pact.
Although the English-language product is considered niche in India, its reach is growing according to recent research, and Indian netizens have been complaining on social media about not getting access to HBO’s fourth season. Successionwhich began airing weekly episodes on March 26.
JioCinema, a streaming service launched by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries in 2016, was recently integrated into Viacom18, a joint venture between Reliance Industries and Paramount Global, as part of a strategic partnership backed by James Murdoch and Bodhi Tree Systems of Uday Shankar.
Viacom18 has also secured the streaming rights to the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament, also previously broadcast by Disney+ Hotstar, in a $3 billion deal announced last year. Disney acquired the linear rights to the tournament for approximately $3 billion.
Clement Schwebig, President, India, South East Asia and Korea, Warner Bros Discovery, said, “Warner Bros Discovery brands are incredibly popular across India, and we are delighted to partner with Viacom18 to bring our premium HBO, Max Original and Warner Bros content to local fans. This new agreement demonstrates our commitment to South Asia as we seek to entertain audiences on more platforms, and further strengthens the scale of our regional business as a whole.
Ferzad Palia, Head – SVOD & International Business, Viacom18, said, “JioCinema has become the largest live sports platform. We are now on a mission to build the most magnetic entertainment destination for all Indians.
“The strategic partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery is an important step in our journey to bring the best of Hollywood content to our elite consumers. We believe that Warner Bros. Discovery sets the global standard for premium content and this partnership allows us to create the best and most comprehensive destination for our users.