B2B Saas

How did JioCinema hit $36Mn+ in revenue with a broken product? A case study for SaaS startup founders

How did JioCinema hit $36Mn+ in revenue with a broken product A case study for SaaS startup founders

Would you wait to launch a stable product version or get a “minimum viable product” out and start gathering feedback? 

You may have faced this crucial decision-making dilemma as a B2B SaaS startup founder. So, what are your options?

The first option is that you wait. If you wait, you can launch a bug-free product after several testing and evaluations but might miss out on early adopters.

The second option is to roll out a minimum viable product and grab the attention of those early adopters as quickly as possible. But there’s the risk of your application/software having bugs and malfunctions. In the long run, this may damage your brand’s reputation and shatter your sales.

So, what’s the correct solution?

In reality, it depends on several factors, including the type of product you’re launching, your target market, and the overall business strategy fitting in with the big picture.

With JioCinema as an example, we’ll examine how Jio achieved success by launching a minimum viable product.

What is JioCinema?

What is JioCinema

JioCinema is a streaming service founded by the joint venture of TV18 and Paramount Global, Viacom18 Media Private Limited. They boast an expansive collection of movies, TV shows, web series, music videos, documentaries, and sports.

JioCinema was one of the first apps launched by Jio, India’s top telecom provider, on 5th September 2016. Jio Platforms’ suite of apps includes JioTV, JioSaavn, JioNews, JioMart, JioMeet, JioChat, and JioTalks.

JioCinema provides a convenient and affordable (read-free) way to access a library of premium content. It contains all genres of movies, from romantic comedies, crime dramas, or gripping dramas, to the latest blockbuster hits or classics from the golden age of cinema.

Reliance’s JioCinema and Viacom18 joined forces to make JioCinema the premier destination for sports content. The merger between the two companies in September 2022 triggered the shift of Viacom18’s sports content to JioCinema.

Making positive progress

Viacom18 is a significant player in the linear TV market, boasting 38 networks in 9 languages and a nationwide presence. In addition, they could access global content in partnership with Paramount Global, an international entertainment company that owns a stake in Viacom18.

The strategic collaboration under the Viacom18 umbrella promised to revolutionize India’s media and entertainment sector. Bodhi Tree Systems, Reliance Projects & Property Management Services, and Paramount Global have formed a powerful alliance.

Bodhi Tree Systems is a partnership between James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems and Uday Shankar, who has put in an outstanding $1.78 Bn in this partnership. Additionally, Reliance Projects & Property Management Services has contributed $216 Mn.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) gave the green light to the merger of Viacom18 Media Private Limited and JioCinema in September 2022. It was a significant step forward for Reliance Industries Limited, which aimed to make its mark in television, OTT, distribution, content production, and development.

Voot and JioCinema are two unique entities for Viacom18. Voot provides exclusive access to Viacom18’s TV shows on OTT channels, with premium content requiring a subscription under Voot Select. JioCinema, on the other hand, is free to use and combines content from multiple broadcasters, providing Viacom18 with the ideal digital platform to broadcast Qatar’s 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Skyrocketing numbers and revenue generation

JioCinema had a clear understanding of the viewership trends from the previous two World Cups.

FIFA World Cup Viewership in India

Sony Pictures Networks India Broadcast Data (2010-2018)



Total Viewership

Regional Language Viewership

Most-Watched Match
2010Sony Six44.9 millionN/AN/A
2014Sony Six62.7 millionN/AN/A
2018Sony Ten 2, Sony Ten 3, Sony ESPN, SonyLIV110 million70.7 million (66%)France vs Croatia final (15.8 million impressions)
Sony Ten 3, Sony ESPN, SonyLIV(66%)
Croatia final (15.8 million impressions)


  • Sony Pictures Networks India broadcasted the FIFA World Cup in India for the years 2010, 2014, and 2018.
  • Regional language broadcasts (Hindi, Malayalam, Bengali, Tamil, and Telugu) accounted for 66% of the total tournament viewership for live matches in 2018.
  • The most-watched match in the 2018 tournament was France vs. Croatia final, with 15.8 million impressions.
  • Viewership increased from 2010 to 2018, with a total viewership of 110 million in 2018 compared to 62.7 million in 2014 and 44.9 million in 2010.

Sources: TAM Media Research, Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), Sony Pictures Network India (SPN).

Knowing the vast numbers at stake, it was no surprise that Viacom18 procured the broadcast rights to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in 2021 for $55 million – and it was a winning move.

In anticipation of the World Cup, just two months after the merger, they decided to go ahead with JioCinema to test live-streaming capabilities, taking on such a big gamble before without knowing how the app would cope with the strain of high viewership. 

It was a risky decision that could have tarnished their reputation. But the reward could be millions of viewers from all over India streaming the FIFA World Cup using your app – A million-dollar opportunity.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup presented an opportunity for JioCinema

 2022 FIFA World Cup presented an opportunity for JioCinema

Jio had planned something special during the 2022 FIFA World Cup. JioCinema has been a shining example of how to do things right. Football fans in India could watch their favorite teams without having to subscribe, thanks to free streaming in 4K quality.

The aftermath!

JioCinema website visits in October 20226.9Mn
JioCinema website visits in December 202273.2Mn
JioCinema downloads before the World Cup30,000-40,000K
JioCinema downloads during the World Cup900,000K


  • JioCinema’s website visits skyrocketed from 6.9Mn in October 2022 to 73.2Mn in December 2022.
  • JioCinema downloads have skyrocketed by 30x since the start of the World Cup. With a massive spike in daily downloads from 30,000-40,000K to 900,000K from mid-November to the end of November. 
  • Throughout the tournament, JioCinema ranked No. 1 for free app downloads on iOS and Android.
  • The app crossed 1.11M daily downloads on Android and iOS on November 26th, 2022. Since November 9th, 2022, it has broken the 1M mark eight times.

Sources: Similarweb, data.ai

As they were streaming, they encountered some hiccups.

JioCinema had a tough start with the World Cup streaming services with the influx of viewers. Despite the app’s initial struggles, the JioCinema team worked without rest to solve the issues and ensure a seamless streaming experience for its users. In addition, the staff took care of technical issues, network connection problems, and server overload to provide continuous coverage as the tournament progressed.

Expressions of dissatisfaction

Celebrities and other users complained that the app failed to deliver a smooth streaming experience at the start of the tournament.

JioCinema’s dedication to providing quality content and an effortless streaming experience paid off in the end.

The event was successful and it was JioCinema’s most-awaited entry into India’s crowded OTT sphere, which includes Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ Hotstar, and others.

  • India has become one of the leading digital viewing markets for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, with the JioCinema app boasting over 110 million viewers.
  • The average viewing time for a match during the 2022 FIFA World Cup was 30 minutes, and 32 million people watched Argentina beat France in the Final on December 18th.
JioCinema heightened the excitement of the FIFA World Cup with their 'Hype Mode' feature

JioCinema heightened the excitement of the FIFA World Cup with their ‘Hype Mode’ feature

With Hype Mode, users could access a range of different camera angles, get information about the two competing teams,  and have a 10-second rewind/skip feature. Android TV users also enjoyed access to the Multicam toggle.

Hype Mode was only available during live matches and not for highlights or full-match replays. The viewers could access the Hype Mode menu by clicking the “Hype Mode” button in the top-left corner of the playing screen. It featured match data, lineups, point charts, and recent results.

How to choose the best angle to view -Jio

Users had the choice of camera settings, such as a comprehensive tactical view and a 360-degree wire camera, with the Multicam Toggle option. Along with other features, like rewinding if you missed an action or goal. In comparison with the primary live stream, the Hype Mode and Multicam toggle options made it easier to observe matches.

When FIFA ended, what was the Jio Cinema left with?

Revenue for jio after FIFA

The revenue side of things

JioCinema reached $36Mn+ in revenue in three months with a broken product.

Viacom18 Sports secured over $36Mn+ revenue in advertising with over 50 brands, including Amul, Mahindra, Visa, Intel, and SBI. In addition, companies in the e-commerce, banking, finance, automotive, fashion, hospitality, and fintech sectors put money into TV+ digital sponsorship for the tournament.

Popularity Rankings are on the rise

  • India was engrossed in the FIFA 2022 World Cup, clocking 40B minutes of watch time on Sports18 and JioCinema. Kerala, Assam, and West Bengal were the top viewing markets.
  • In the group stage, the 8 PM matches received the highest ratings, but from Round of 16 onwards, late-night games gained popularity.
  • An average of 30 minutes of each match was viewed during the 2022 FIFA World Cup, with 32M watching Argentina win the 2022 FIFA World Cup on December 18th, 2022.
  • Reliance had a successful Q3FY23, with JioCinema recording over 100 million users.

JioCinema has become a significant player in the Indian entertainment industry. Thanks to its innovative approach to content distribution and its ability to attract advertisers. The platform’s continuous growth and success demonstrate the power of digital media and the immense potential of the online video market.

With its commitment to providing high-quality content and a user-friendly interface, JioCinema is well-positioned to maintain its upward trajectory and continue its journey of skyrocketing revenue generation.

Another opportunity knocks on their door. 

In 2022, Viacom18 signed another major deal to secure digital rights to the Indian Premier League (IPL) in a five-year deal worth $6.2Bn. Now that the FIFA World Cup is over, JioCinema will become Viacom18’s primary source of sports content.

As per recent announcements, Viacom18 could grant free digital streaming access to IPL 2023.

Jio Cinema expects to growth its subscriber count with IPL 2023

Jio Cinema expects to growth its subscriber count with IPL 2023

If Jio offers free streaming for IPL, it could draw in millions of new subscribers. Moreover, it will be great news for fans across India who would no longer have to pay a subscription fee to watch their favorite teams play.

JioCinema’s FIFA World Cup campaign has been successful at onboarding users. They aim to surpass Disney+ Hotstar’s 221M (2021-2022) active users by providing free IPL streaming without a paywall. Viacom18 aims to reach over 600M smartphone users in India (Statista).

They currently fulfill smartphone users’ two crucial needs with data and calling services. And by adding a third of the entertainment aspect to the list, Voot & JioCinema aim to keep users engaged with their TV shows, movies, and sports. A Game changer!

Final thoughts

JioCinema used their opportunity to succeed with 960.87% more website visits in around two months. During the opening week of the FIFA World Cup 2022, they attained an impressive 6.4Mn app downloads.

When creating a timeline for launching your company’s product, remember that it is an ongoing process that requires careful planning and execution. JioCinema’s experience is a reminder that launching your product isn’t always a smooth ride. 

But these hiccups can be viewed as a chance to improve your product and make it even more attractive to your target customers. Don’t brush off customer reviews; use them to refine your product. Stand out from the competition with unique product features or materials. JioCinema’s ‘hype mode’ is a great example.

Setting a timeline for launching your product is critical to success. Don’t view imperfections as a failure—see them as an opportunity to refine and get feedback. Doesn’t that sound like a kickass strategy? In addition, launching your product with exclusive functionalities or content can give you an edge. So, don’t wait until things are perfect—go for it!

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