Sony Pictures Networks India is in talks with Amazon’s online video streaming arm Prime Videos to jointly bid for broadcasting rights of the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the next five years.
The two are expected to put up a war chest of $3-4 billion for the auctions to be held by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in December, according to sources aware of the negotiations. Sony had earlier held the rights from 2008-2017 but lost out to Star India which submitted a bid of ₹16,348 crore for all IPL games during 2018-22. Sony had bid for ₹11,050 crore.
According to experts, Star India has a strong presence in linear TV and in the digital streaming space through Hotstar. Sony Pictures, on the other hand, has a good linear TV network but is weak in the online segment. This is where a partnership with Amazon Prime could click, said an industry analyst. Sony is also looking to merge with Zee Entertainment which will further bolster its presence in tier-2 and tier-3 markets. Amazon has also been trying to get the digital rights for IPL but has not been successful.
“Prime Video has been looking to get into this space for a long time now and Sony wants to win the rights back. It looks like both may join hands for the same,” said another source.
While Sony did not respond to BusinessLine ’s query, an Amazon spokesperson said it does “not comment on speculations.”
According to reports, BCCI expects at least $5 billion from broadcasting rights.