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KSE30 24,320 Increased By 1107 (4.77%) Inc. is all set to begin streaming BBC shows in India, intensifying an entertainment war with the likes of Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, in one of the world’s largest media markets, reported Bloomberg on Thursday.

Beginning this week, Amazon’s India-based Prime Video members will be able to watch popular British mainstays such as ‘The Great British Bakeoff’ and ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ on BBC Player, as well BBC Kids, through annual add-on subscriptions at INR599 ($7.3), said the companies in a joint statement, reported Bloomberg.

They did not elaborate on any further details.

Indian billionaire Ambani’s JioCinema unveils pricing in fight with Netflix, Disney

The agreement allows Indian subscribers to access BBC’s wide range of entertainment, documentaries and reality shows for the first time without having to resort to virtual private networks to disguise IP addresses.

The new collaboration also posits a new challenge for Ambani’s JioCinema platform, which recently acquired multi-year contracts to show HBO and Max Original content, as well as the hugely popular Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament.

Ambani is the chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries, based in India, whose telecom arm owns the streaming app, JioCinema.

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The BBC addition will help Amazon – which has a large portfolio of original Indian-made entertainment – compete with Netflix Inc., which offers Indian subscribers a wider amount of worldwide films and shows, added Bloomberg, quoting a local source.

Fragmented market

Prime Video and Netflix held an aggregate 10% share of India’s premium streaming market by viewing minutes, added the report.

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“This will provide some scale and growth for Amazon,” said Karan Taurani, a Mumbai-based media analyst at Elara Securities.

“These kind of partnerships are the way ahead — rather than them launching their own platform in a market like India, which is already fragmented.”

India is a key growth market for Amazon. However, its expansion has been rocky and the firm has faced antitrust challenges and legal battles, including allegations that its shows have hurt religious sentiment and that its retail arm undercuts India’s mom-and-pop stores.

In April, Amazon announced that it would partner with India’s government to stream movies and TV shows from state-run studios, as well as provide internships to students from government film institutes. This announcement comes prior to impending national elections next year where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to win a third term in office.

New Delhi also has a testy relationship with the British broadcaster. Earlier this year, tax authorities raided the BBC’s offices after it aired a documentary critical of Modi’s alleged role in deadly riots more than two decades ago in his home state of Gujarat.


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