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Gourav Rakshit quits Viacom18

After nearly five years at Viacom18 Pvt Ltd, Gourav Rakshit, chief operating officer of Viacom18 Digital, has quit the company. His departure follows the merger of Voot, a video streaming application owned by Viacom18 Media Pvt Ltd, with JioCinema, necessitating a transition for Voot’s users to the latter platform. Viacom18’s original content, including popular shows like Bigg Boss, are now premiering on JioCinema.

“Gourav has played a key role in shaping Viacom18’s digital agenda over the last five years. He has now decided to move on other pursuits outside the organisation. We wish him all the very best in his future endeavours,” a Viacom18 spokesperson said.

Since May 2019, Rakshit has played a pivotal role as COO of Viacom Digital. His prior experience includes leadership positions at as president and CEO, along with roles at Infosys Consulting as a management consultant, Planetasia as a business lead, and Nestle as a marketing manager.

JioCinema, to enhance its service offering, introduced a premium subscription priced at ₹999 annually, which exclusively features premium English content. However, programming in local languages remains accessible for free. In September 2022, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) sanctioned the merger of Jio Cinema with Viacom18, which had also secured the digital broadcasting rights for the IPL for a whopping ₹23,757 crore.

JioCinema, owned by Reliance Industries, has adopted a measured approach to its web original strategy by focusing on mid-sized web shows, with estimated annual budget of about ₹1,000 crore, excluding sports. This budget is roughly half the size of leading competitors like Netflix as the platform’s current strategy on web originals is driven by volume primarily to sustain audience interest post-IPL.

While industry experts said that certain titles such as Taali and Asur 2 gained traction and secured top spots on viewership charts, it is evident that JioCinema is targeting a mass-viewing space in the streaming market in India. Media consultancy Ormax, said Asur 2 ranked fourth in most-watched Hindi web show in the first half of 2023, accumulated impressive viewership of 19.3 million. In comparison, Shahid Kapoor’s Bloody Daddy was the most-watched Hindi film, with 16.6 million viewers. LiveMint

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