JioCinema is set to appoint Kiran Mani, a former general manager at Google, as its Chief Executive Officer. The move is intended to grow the streaming service's mobile customers and its Hollywood partnerships.
In the past, Mani oversaw Google's Android business in the Asia Pacific area. He will oversee the JioCinema's technological development and enable agreements with Hollywood studios, according to Bloomberg.
According to his Linkedin profile, the executive, who has already begun working for the business, was an early investor and consultant to James Murdoch and Uday Shankar's Bodhi Tree investment firm. The parent company of JioCinema, Viacom18, is a partnership of Bodhi Tree, Paramount Global, and Reliance Industries Ltd., a firm owned by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani.
The development comes days after it was reported that Disney was in preliminary talks with potential buyers of its India streaming business, including Reliance Industries Ltd.
India, has been a fierce battleground for global media companies since its a big market of 140 crore people. Google and YouTube are already quite popular in India. JioCinema had earlier offered free streaming of the Indian Premier League 2023, which is a major cricket tournament, in an attempt to attract more paying subscribers to its platform. It had also showcased the 2022 FIFA World Cup held in Qatar late last year to Indian audiences. The service costs Rs 999 about $12 for a yearly subscription.
JioCinema also signed new programming deals in 2023, with entertainment giants Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. and Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal as part of its expansion plans.