IPL will be part of Viacom’s streaming offering to be launched in 2023: Bob Bakish
Paramount+, the D2C platform of Paramount, will also be launched in India along with the new streaming product, the company’s Global Chief said in the Q2 earnings call
Paramount Global Chief Robert (Bob) Bakish has said that the company's Indian Joint Venture Viacom18 will launch a streaming offering in 2023, which will also stream the Indian Premier League (IPL). He also said that Paramount+, the D2C platform of Paramount, will launch in India along with the new streaming product.
Reliance Industries, Bodhi Tree, and Paramount-backed Viacom18 had bid Rs 23,758 crore to bag the digital media rights for the Indian subcontinent. It has also bagged international media rights for the cash-rich league for markets like Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Caribbean, South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, the UK, Ireland, and Continental Europe for Rs 595 crore.
"So, IPL i.e., India cricket, I assume, that's a deal that was done by our joint venture in India, Viacom18, which recently had a transaction where they brought in Bodhi Tree as an investor and Capital Infusion. Their intent and I don't really leave it to the joint venture, which, by the way, our other partners, Reliance, to speak to that, and they haven't spoken to it much. But what they have said is it's – we obviously have the streaming rights there. It's going to be part of a streaming offering for the Indian market, that Viacom18 is going to launch in 2023," Bakish said in the company's Q2 earnings call.
Regarding Paramount+'s India launch, Bakish said, "We've also said that we are going to –Paramount+ is going to launch with it, essentially as another form of hard bundle, a tier. And therefore, we're really excited about it because we get the very material benefit of cricket, and cricket is at the top of the food chain in India."
Cricket, he said, will be a real engine of growth for Viacom18's streaming service, Paramount+ will also benefit by being part of the bundle. "And so, it will be a real engine for streaming and then Paramount+ will benefit by being part of that, even though we're not directly investing on an O&O basis, we're obviously part of the joint venture."
Speaking about the global expansion plan for Paramount+, Bakish said that the company will focus on balancing long-term market growth with a smart allocation of capital in markets like India. "As exemplified by our deals with Viacom18 and Reliance, with whom we're partnering to bring Paramount+ to India, and with our Sky Showtime partnership with Comcast, which will launch later this year."
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