Reliance Jio’s inaugural foray into sports streaming yielded disappointing results, as users complained of disruptions during the opening match of the FIFA World Cup 2022 on the JioCinema app. 

The Viacom-Jio partnership, which is gearing up to digitally stream the IPL in 2023, had a prime opportunity on Sunday to convince avid sports fans that their streaming services will be a veritable competitor to the likes of Disney-Hotstar and Sony.

Buffering issue

Yet, minutes into the FIFA opening ceremony, Indian football fans were left fuming, complaining that the online video streaming kept buffering on the JioCinema app. 

The World Cup has a larger footprint amongst the English-speaking urban audience, who are also more likely to prefer online video streaming of the matches. Yet, the app performed poorly, resulting in frustrated users complaining on social media about JioCinema ruining their viewing experience.

Taking it to twitter

Users complained that the app was buffering too often, once every few minutes or seconds—completely ruining the experience of watching the opening match between Qatar and Ecuador. Even if the video played without many hiccups, the audio kept going missing, making the opening match difficult to watch. While Viacom18 is also airing the World Cup on DTH and cable on their new channel Sport18, many users do not have cable or DTH connectivity as well. Thus, many viewers lamented that their World Cup experience had been ruined.

“Worst FIFA 2022 experience; every 10-seconds, the game is lagging, I have tried to uninstall and reinstall the app; I even tried to watch it on my phone, but still no luck; having 300 mbps speed is not good enough to watch a live streaming,” tweeted a Twitter user.

“Why do you take the responsibility to broadcast FIFA 2022 if you’re not capable to broadcast it properly? Horrible lags buffering, and unexpected errors in web and Android TV apps. Not able to enjoy a single moment of FIFA,” another user complained.

A Twitter user quipped, “Hey Elon Musk, can you buy Jio Cinema and fire the guys who ruined our FIFA World Cup opening ceremony?” Memes making fun of the app are also circulating online.

JioCinema is owned by Jio Platforms, which also owns Reliance’s telecom arm, Jio. Access to the app is usually provided as a perk to Jio’s telecom subscribers. However, for the World Cup, Reliance made streaming free for all users on all telecom plans (Airtel, BSNL, and Vodafone Idea). This was likely done to drive major exposure for Viacom18’s burgeoning live sports business.

Nevertheless, JioCinema apologised for the lackluster FIFA streaming, saying, “We are continuously working to give you a great experience. Please upgrade your app to the latest version to enjoy #FIFAWorldCupQatar2022. Apologies for any inconvenience,” it tweeted.