With the dissolution of the Disney+Hotstar and HBO Max partnership, Warner Bros, Discovery and Viacom18 have announced an exclusive multi-year content partnership for India.

With this, Viacom18’s JioCinema platform will become the new streaming home for HBO, Max Original and Warner Bros content in India from next month. 

Some of the most critically acclaimed titles that have a die-hard fandom among India’s elite will now be part of JioCinema’s library.

With this, the Reliance-backed streaming platform’s library will look a lot like Disney+ Hotstar’s content slate last from year. It was on the back of marquee titles such as IPL and HBO that Disney catapulted to become one of the most successful streaming platforms in India. 

Now, the deep-pocketed Reliance has access to some of the most revered titles in the media business. This includes digital rights for IPL — JioCinema is successfully airing its first season under the Reliance banner.

With the partnership with Warner Bros, Viacom18 gains the digital and linear covers for HBO series such as House of the Dragon, The Last of Us, Succession and The White Lotus; Max Original series including And Just Like That…, Peacemaker; and The Flight Attendant; and upcoming Warner Bros movies and library titles including Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings; and the DC Universe movies.

While English content continues to be a niche product in India, a recent study by Ormax media found that the HBO title, House of the Dragon, was in fact the biggest driver for the growing popularity of western TV shows and movies in India.

HBO’s corporate drama inspired by Rupert Murdoch’s media empire Succession trended in India hours after the dissolution of Disney+Hotstar and HBO Max partnership was announced. Indian netizens who bemoaned the fact that HotStar dropped the popular show mid-season now rejoice that the show has been made available in India again. 

Experts believe that Reliance’s strategic acquisitions set the stage for JioCinema becoming the largest streaming platform in the country in the next two years.

‘Suitable home’

Karan Taurani of Elara Capital said, “Titles such as IPL and HBO’s content library have found a more suitable home under the Reliance banner. Disney shifted its focus towards original IP, because it was unable to sustain having such an expensive content library, that it was unable to scale.”

Taurani added, “Reliance has diverse array of businesses under it, from telecommunications to broadband to e-commerce etc. It can bundle and scale these titles much better than Disney. It also has the financial headroom to make important investments and sustain losses in the short term to become a cross vertical monopoly in a few years.”