Reliance-backed Viacom18 has bagged BCCI TV and digital rights, in a five-year deal worth ₹5,963 crore. This further cements Viacom’s OTT bid, eroding Disney Star’s  digital supremacy on the counter. 

On Thursday, the cricket body auctioned the TV and Digital rights for India’s home cricket broadcasting. Like the IPL media rights auction, BCCI auctioned the TV and Digital rights of the cricket home matches separately. Three of India’s biggest broadcasters, Sony, Disney Star, and Viacom18, battled it out to win the rights. 

With its winning bid, Viacom18 has paid nearly ₹7.76 crore more than last cycle’s ₹60 crore per match paid by Disney Star. 

BCCI Secretary Jay Shah tweeted, “Congratulations Viacom18 for winning the BCCI Media Rights for both linear and digital for the next 5 years. India Cricket will continue to grow in both spaces as after IPL, and Women IPL, we extend the partnership for BCCI Media Rights as well. Together we will continue to capture the imagination of cricket fans.”

The cricket body had set the base price for the bilateral rights to be ₹45 crore per match. Viacom’s bid gives BCCI a 13 per cent premium over their asking price. 

Given that Viacom is quite resolute in growing their digital streaming platform, JioCinema,it is no surprise that they paid a premium for the digital rights, however, contrary to the expectations before auctions; where experts predicted that Sony will try to acquire TV rights, Viacom came on the top there as well. 

By acquiring the BCCI bilateral rights, Viacom18 has cemented its position as the top competitor in the OTT space. Karan Taurani of Elara Capital said, “Jio Cinema is here to stay as a large competitor in the OTT space. One platform (Viacom) acquiring both (TV and Digital) rights of marquee content augurs well from a bundling and monetisation perspective.”

However, Taurani added that the selling price of the BCCI rights was below expectations as the advertising environment continues to remain volatile. 

Disney’s apathy towards retaining media rights for marquee cricket content cements its global position of getting its OTT business out of India.