Reliance Big Entertainment, the flagship media and entertainment arm of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, has acquired a majority stake in US-based Willow TV, a portal for live Internet streaming of all major cricket events from across the world. Though Reliance Big Entertainment refused to disclose the percentage of stake acquired, it has revealed that it would be investing Rs 250-300 crore over 2-3 years in the portal, a part of which would be on acquisitions.
Commenting on this acquisition, Rajesh Sawhney, President, Reliance Big Entertainment, said, “The acquisition of Willow TV is in line with our strategy to strengthen our presence in the global markets and reinforce our Group’s presence in new media. There is considerable scope to expand the size, scale and scope of Willow TV portal. We are also looking at launching a Video-Box Service, which will seamlessly integrate cricket, movie and television content on the television screen, which would give our audience great choice and enhanced viewing experience.”
“There is a considerable synergy between cricket from Willow TV, movies from Bigflix.com, and telecom services from Reliance Communications, which will be now ignited,” Sawhney added.
In a prepared statement, Vijay Srinivasan and Sameer Mehta, Co-founders of Willow TV, said, “There is complete convergence of vision between Willow and Reliance Big Entertainment. The synergies from the ecosystem will enable us to offer a significantly superior product to our consumers across three screens – PC, mobile and TV.”
Willow TV, which is into live streaming of major international cricket, claims to have more than a million registered users worldwide, predominantly in the US, Canada, Australia and Europe. In 2007-08, Willow TV also claims to have streamed major cricket events live, including the Indian Premier League.