India’s Reliance JioCinema entertainment unit has recently inked a deal with The Pokemon Company to feature children’s shows and movies on its platform, according to sources familiar with the matter. This move is part of Reliance’s ongoing efforts to enhance its content library in the face of domestic competition, particularly from streaming giants like Walt Disney Co and others.
The agreement, finalized this month, designates Reliance JioCinema streaming app as the “exclusive” platform partner in India for over 1,000 episodes and approximately 20 movies from the Japanese anime series, as disclosed by one of the sources, who refrained from providing financial details.
To broaden the appeal of these shows and movies, they will be dubbed into three Indian languages. Pokemon, a global multimedia franchise with a value in the billions, encompasses trading cards, games, TV shows, and movies.
Despite requests for comment, Viacom18, the entertainment joint-venture led by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani that operates JioCinema, and The Pokemon Company, owned by Nintendo and its affiliates, have not responded.
Mukesh Ambani’s strategy
Mukesh Ambani’s strategy to expand in the Indian streaming market involves bolstering child-focused content on JioCinema. Research firm Media Partners Asia estimates this market to be worth $7 billion by 2027. Competing with Netflix and Amazon, Ambani is particularly challenging Disney’s Hotstar app, offering free streaming of cricket matches.
In total, JioCinema aims to add around 3,000 hours of children’s content, sourced from Entertainment One, Animaccord, Cartoon Network Studios, and DreamWorks, according to the sources. Viacom18 will integrate this content through its existing deals or its other streaming app, Voot Kids, which they have discontinued. Previously, Voot hosted the Pokemon content, but stakeholders describe this new JioCinema deal as a “much larger partnership.”
Regarding existing partnerships, NBCUniversal announced in May that they have a multi-year agreement with JioCinema, including “kids and family programming,” which encompasses DreamWorks content. Entertainment One, Animaccord, and Cartoon Network Studios did not provide comments on the matter.
In April, Viacom18 struck another deal with Warner Bros Discovery Inc. to bring more Hollywood and international content to JioCinema, featuring popular series like “Succession” and “Game of Thrones.”