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Warner Bros. Discovery’s streaming plans in India have come into focus. The studio unveiled a multiyear deal Thursday with Viacom18 that will make the Indian entertainment giant’s JioCinema streaming platform the new online home of thousands of hours of film and TV content from HBO, Max Original and Warner Bros.
WBD content was previously licensed in India by Disney’s Star TV, but that deal expired in March. WBD and Viacom18 say their new partnership, which begins in May, includes exclusive content rights across digital and linear. And users will be able to watch HBO Original, Max Original and Warner Bros. Television series on JioCinema on the same day as their U.S. release.
The new deal adds to growing market sway of Viacom18’s streaming channels, which in 2022 acquired all digital rights for five years to Indian Premier League cricket, India’s most popular sporting event by far. Viacom18 is majority controlled by the TV subsidiary of billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s sprawling conglomerate Reliance Industries, which also owns India’s largest telecom company. The minority share of Viacom18 is led by Paramount Global, with James Murdoch and media exec Uday Shankar’s investment vehicle Bodhi Tree Systems holding a smaller piece. Paramount Global’s premium video platform, Paramount+, is expected to launch in India in partnership with Viacom18 this spring. Altogether, Viacom18’s streaming offering has been gathering the content heft to become the dominant player in the Indian online video marketplace.
“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 of SVOD and international business at Viacom18. “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.”
Added Clement Schwebig, WBD’s president of India, Southeast Asia and Korea: “Warner Bros. Discovery’s brands are incredibly popular across India, and we are pleased 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 across more platforms, and further strengthens the scale of our regional business as a whole.”
Thursday’s deal includes current and future seasons of HBO’s globally acclaimed series such as House of the Dragon, The Last of Us, Succession and The White Lotus, and returning seasons of True Detective: Night Country, Euphoria, Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty and Perry Mason. Also featured as part of the agreement are highly anticipated HBO Original series including The Idol, White House Plumbers, The Sympathizer and The Regime. In addition, HBO’s esteemed series and documentaries, including Game of Thrones, Sex and the City, Big Little Lies, Chernobyl and Veep, will be available for users. Max Original series, including And Just Like That…, Peacemaker and The Flight Attendant; highly anticipated premieres such as Dune: The Sisterhood, The Batman spinoff The Penguin, and Duster, from J.J. Abrams and LaToya Morgan; as well as much-loved Warner Bros. Television series like East New York and Gotham Knights are also part of the offering.
Feature films were part of the grab bag, too. Future Warner Bros. blockbuster movies and the studio’s vast film library, including the Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and DC Universe movies, as well kids animation titles like Dexter’s Laboratory and Tom & Jerry Kids will also be available on JioCinema.
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