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Viacom18 to offer FIFA World Cup matches for free to consumers on JioCinema app

Viacom18 Media, which has the TV and digital rights for the upcoming FIFA World Cup, is focussing on developing the JioCinema app as the key sporting digital destination in the country. The broadcasting network, which is backed by Reliance Industries and Bodhi Tree Systems, will livestream the matches of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 on JioCinema app without charging any subscription fees.

Last month, the CCI had approved amalgamation of JioCinema OTT platform with Viacom18 Media Pvt Ltd. With consumers increasingly streaming sporting events on smartphones and connected TVs, the broadcaster expects this strategy to help strengthen its reach and expand the viewership of the marquee sporting event in the country. On television, the FIFA World Cup 2022, which kickstarts from November 20, will be telecast on Sports18 SD and HD.

Anil Jayaraj, CEO, Viacom18 Sports, told businessline: “JioCinema will be the digital destination for the FIFA World Cup in India. This marquee sporting event will be made available at no cost to consumers. So they can download the app, which will be available across all telecom service providers, to watch the matches without paying any subscription costs.”:

The JioCinema app will offer multiple language feeds for the FIFA matches including Hindi, English, Malayalam, Bengali and Tamil besides offering it in 4K.

“JioCinema app has lifetime downloads of close to 400 million. The market we are going after is the over 700 million internet-enable devices in the country. We want to be available on as many of them as possible since there are no subscription costs for consumers. We believe we should be able to deliver a real record in terms of the viewership for the FIFA World Cup in the country,” he added.

The broadcaster expects to see strong response from advertisers. “This is a marquee sporting property that happens once every four years. Advertisers want to invest on sure-fire properties. We will be delivering a significant reach at scale enabling advertisers to target different consumer cohorts,” Jayaraj stated.

While cricket remains the most-watched sport in the country, there has been an increase in viewership of other sports in the past few years. “ Amongst the youth, football is amongst the fastest-growing sports. We believe that over the next few years there will be a whole set of consumers who will watch multiple sports in the country,” he said. The Hindu BusinessLine

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