Viacom18’s JioCinema secures NBCU deal

JioCinema, Indian pay TV broadcaster Viacom18’s streaming service, has struck a multi-year partnership with Comcast-owned NBCUniversal to bring NBCU films and TV series to India.

The partnership will bring content from Universal Television, UCP, Universal International Studios, Universal Television Alternative Studio, Sky Studios, DreamWorks Animation, Universal Pictures, Focus Features and Bravo to JioCinema.

NBCU’s programming will be distributed in a Peacock branded hub starting next month on JioCinema’s newly announced JioCinema Premium SVOD tier.

Viewers will have access to first-run series including Young Rock with Dwayne Johnson action thriller The Lazarus Project; and romantic comedy The Lovers.

Indian audiences will also be able to see Peacock Originals including Bel-AirPitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin and The Calling. Library content on the service will include Downton AbbeySuitsThe Office, Parks and Recreation and The Mindy Project.

Reality shows in the deal include The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,  Vanderpump Rules and Family Karma.

Recent and forthcoming movies include Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, M3GAN Fast X, The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Oppenheimer.

NBCU said that the partnership leverages JioCinema’s reach and expertise to introduce Indian audiences to the Peacock brand and NBCU’s portfolio, while cementing JioCinema’s position as the largest OTT service in the market.

Reliance-owned Indian broadcaster Viacom18 recently struck a deal with Warner Bros. Discovery to bring HBO and warner Bros content to the JioCinema app.

The latest content agreements come after of completion of a merger involving Reliance Industries, Bodhi Tree Systems – an investment JV of James Murdoch and former Disney Star chairman Uday Shankar – and Paramount Global.

The merger will see JioCinema integrated fully into Viacom18.

Following the merger, TV18, Viacom18’s nominal parent, backed by Reliance Industries, will have a 51% stake in the company with the balance held by Paramount Global and Bodhi Tree Investments. Shankar has been appointed to the board of Viacom18 following the merger.

Viacom18 had previously announced a partnership with Murdoch and Shankar’s Bodhi Tree Systems to set up a joint streaming giant with the latter making a major investment in Viacom18. However, Bodhi Tree has since cut its planned investment in the streamer from US$1.78 billion to US$528 million due to uncertainty about the economic outlook.

Viacom18 owns streaming rights to the Indian Premier League cricket, the biggest sporting tournament in the sub-continent. The company ultimately plans to merge Voot into JioCinema to create a single streaming platform for India, with the IPL being distributed via the JioCinema app.

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