Nisha Qureshi
OTT Streaming

Jio Cinema to debut original content very soon

Jyoti Deshpande, President - RIL Media and Content Business said the move is in line with Jio Studio’s vision to democratise content

Reliance Industry’s OTT arm Jio Cinema- that was till today a content aggregator, is all set to have a number of original titles. Jio Studios, the media and content arm of Reliance Industries, unveiled a massive lineup of 100 upcoming titles. These titles will be a mix of original films and web series in multiple languages. These titles will be released on Jio Cinemas very soon and a few of them will be theatrical releases, says the brand.

Speaking about the move, Jyoti Deshpande, President - RIL Media and Content Business says with this, they want to empower story-tellers and democratise content for Indians.

Foundations of Jio Studios

Jio Studios was set up in 2018 as Reliance Industry’s film distribution wing. They have made 50 films so far and now want to scale massively with the 100 titles. The Studio has not just written cheques and licensed these titles but actually went through the rigour of listening to pitches, writing them, casting, budgeting and producing them adds Deshpande. 

At the back of the content slate launch, she recalled Mukesh Ambani’s (chairman of Reliance Industry) vision for the conglomerate’s media and entertainment business.

“I was mesmerised by his vision. Digital was not digital back then and the world was a very different place but he could foresee what critical part content would play in the digital disruption,” she says.

She added that scaling the business was one of the main tenets for Jio Studios. “We build to scale, that does not only mean making the most expensive movie but it means to empower the partners and storytellers in each language and amplify that noise which is not just India but the whole of Bharat.”

Entertainment ecosystem in India and how does Jio Studio want to change it

According to a PwC report,  India’s Media and entertainment Industry is expected to reach Rs. 4,30,401 crores by 2026. OTT video services market (video-on-demand and live) in India is likely to post a CAGR of 29.52% by FY26. Entertainment consumption in India has evolved massively in recent years due to data availability, smart TV connectivity, and more recently, the lockdowns.

Deshpande spoke about how the entertainment business in India has shaped up and what Jio Studios plans to do with it.

“What we are seeing out there is a lot of westernised content. Our  idea is to have premium content which the Sobo (South Mumbai) audience is as comfortable watching as a person watching it in Kanpur. We want to make content inclusive and accessible. The idea is to make in India and show it to the world.”

She says the aim for Jio Studios is to grow the value- chain of the business and inherit from it. “We have integrated small production houses, given them the  infrastructure and helped them scale. We have not trapped them into complicated contracts. The aim is to grow the value-chain, have the goodwill of these people and grow.” 

According to her, while there are big-budget movies in the line-up coming from notable makers like Rajkumar Hirani, Sooraj Barjatya, Dinesh Vijan, Ali Abbas Zafar, Aditya Dhar, Prakash Jha, Amar Kaushik, Laxman Utekar etc, a number of new story-tellers have been empowered by Jio Studios. 

Can Jio Studios make entertainment language agnostic in India?

As per Deshpande, while Indians are watching international content, they are not consuming content from their own country in different languages.

“We (Indians) are comfortable watching Korean content, Spanish content and we do watch Telugu cinema, however, today Hyderabad doesn’t watch Marathi content. The idea is to democratise storytelling and make it language agnostic.”

She says that although there are smaller film industries like the Kannada film industry, the Marathi film industry, they want to work with story-tellers across them and become a catalyst of cross-pollination of talent in such a way that these stories have a universal appeal. 

“The idea is to make local cinema mainstream,” she adds.

Adding to this vision, Jio Studios has also entered into a multi-year, multi-film deal with SVF Entertainment, one of the biggest studios in West Bengal to create blockbusters. The upcoming films in this partnership will include top of the line talent such as Mithun Chakraborty, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Jisshu Sengupta and makers Dhrubo Banerjee, Raj Chakraborty, Anirban Bhattacharya, Srijit Mukherji, Suman Ghosh. 

Cashing in on the IPL eyeballs 

Deshpande says that the titles can be expected to drop in as soon as May, while the IPL audience will still be on JioCinema. She further hinted that the content will be behind a pay-wall.

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