Home / Industry / Media /  Viacom18 to show Fifa World Cup free on Jio Cinema app

Reliance Industries Ltd-backed TV broadcasting and digital media company Viacom18 Media, that owns the television broadcast and streaming rights to Fifa World Cup football tournament, will show the games on its Jio Cinema app. The games begin in Qatar next month.

“The digital destination for the Football World Cup, which starts in November is going to be Jio Cinema. While Jio Cinema will post all other sporting properties that Viacom18 has such as NBA, the athletics Diamond League and ATP Tennis, among others, Fifa will be available to all telecom players including Jio, Vodafone, Airtel and their subscribers, across devices like iOS, Android and connected TVs," said Anil Jayaraj, chief executive, Viacom18, Sports.

The commentary for the games will be available in English, Hindi, Malayalam, Bengali and Tamil, and the games will be telecast free of cost to consumers, said Jayaraj, in an interview. “So there is no subscription fees that anybody needs to pay. You can just download the app and start watching football," he said. Viacom18 clinched the deal to telecast Fifa matches in the Indian subcontinent last year. The 2018 Fifa World Cup was telecast by Sony.

To be sure, last month, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) approved the proposed merger of Jio Cinema OTT app with Viacom18 Media. This followed an investment by Bodhi Tree Systems (BTS) and Reliance Projects and Property Management Services (RPPMS). In April, RIL and Viacom18 had announced a strategic partnership with BTS where it promised to invest 13,500 crore in Viacom18 and RPPMS, a RIL unit, was to invest 1,645 crore in the broadcaster. Under this partnership, Jio Cinema app was transferred to Viacom18.

On why Fifa will be on Jio Cinema and not Voot, the broadcaster’s entertainment streaming platform, Jayaraj said that Jio Cinema already has a high app download user base. “I think it’s got lifetime downloads of some 400 million. So, it’s actually quite massive. We believe that bringing up some of the marquee content that we have, including FIFA, gives the sporting viewers a unique opportunity to watch it," he said.

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